Is bone the only word that comes to your mind when you hear about Vitamin D? Dig into the roles of the “Sunshine Vitamin”
Benefits Of Vitamin D
This fat-soluble vitamin is also called the sunshine vitamin. Vitamin D plays many important functions including bone metabolism and has anti-inflammatory and immune-modulating properties. Among the several benefits of vitamin D, the most important one includes the following-
1. Vitamin D and Diabetes:
Vitamin D deficiency can affect functions of pancreatic β-cell and insulin sensitivity thus causing Type 2 diabetes.
2. Vitamin D and Cardiovascular Disease:
Vitamin D receptors are present on cells of the cardiovascular system (cardiomyocytes, endothelial cells, and vascular smooth muscle cells). These cells produce 1α-hydroxylase, which converts 25-hydroxyvitamin D to calcitriol. Calcitriol inhibits vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation, regulates the renin-angiotensin system (maintains vascular resistance), decreases coagulation and exhibits anti-inflammatory properties (prevents atherosclerosis). Vitamin D also prevents stroke, coronary heart disease, and heart failure.
3. Vitamin D and Bone Health:
Vitamin D maintains phosphorus and regulates calcium levels in the blood. Calcium and phosphorus levels in the blood are important for healthy bones. Vitamin D deficiency causes Rickets (a condition with weak or soft bones in children). In adults, low levels of vitamin D lead to poor bone density (osteoporosis) since low vitamin D levels decrease the active transcellular absorption of calcium in bones.
4. Vitamin D and Cancer:
It also plays an important role in the regulation of cell growth and differentiation, reducing cancer progression and thus preventing cancer cell death. Calcitriol reduces cancer progression by slowing the growth and development of new blood vessels in cancerous tissue, reducing cell proliferation and metastases.
Vitamin D is also essential for a healthy pregnancy, healthy infants (prevents diseases like asthma, eczema & atopic dermatitis), boosting weight loss, and reducing depression. Vitamin D deficiency is also associated with an increased risk of rheumatoid arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, and swine flu.
So go out and soak up all the sunshine!