Sunlight, Vitamin D and Health

Do Your Body a Favor—Get Out and Enjoy the Sunshine!

The main function of vitamin D is to maintain the body’s calcium concentrations at a precise level. This is accomplished by increasing the absorption of calcium from the intestines and the interaction with other hormones (such as parathyroid hormone).

Almost all tissues and cells in the body have receptors for this hormone, and therefore are affected by its presence. More than 90% of the vitamin D requirement of human beings is met by internal synthesis with the aid of sunlight, not from the diet.

Vitamin D deficiency will cause a disease characterized by the severe bone deformity called rickets. Osteomalacia (a weakening of the bones) may develop – along with muscle weakness and aching bones and muscles (as in fibromyalgia, CFS and arthritis).

What is Vitamin D?

How this amazing vitamin is produced in your body and works to maintain bone health and more.

Vitamin D, in the form of calciferol (Vitamin D3) is a fat-soluble vitamin. It is found in food, but also can be made in your body after exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun.

The liver and kidneys help convert vitamin D to its active hormone form known as calcitriol; so vitamin D is, technically, a sunlight-derived pro-hormone calcitriol. Vitamin D in its active pro-hormone form of calcitriol is vital in the production of various hormones and neurotransmitters (messengers in the brain).

The major biological function of vitamin D is to maintain normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus. It regulates bone mineralization in unison with a number of other vitamins, minerals, and hormones. In short, without vitamin D, bones start to become thin, brittle, soft, or misshapen.

Vitamin D also:

  • Helps form and maintain strong bones and teeth
  • Regulates bone-calcium metabolism
  • Helps the body absorb calcium
  • Enhances immune function
  • Improves muscle strength

Vitamin D Infertility and Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

If you have problems with infertility or premenstrual syndrome (PMS), remember to take your calcium, and be sure to get enough exposure to sunlight.

Infertility been associated in studies with low vitamin D intake. PMS has also been completely reversed in some cases by the addition of the following supplements:

  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Boron
  • Vitamin D

Vitamin D Fatigue and Depression

Adrenal glands and vitamin D work together to fight fatigue in your body

Vitamin D, activated as calcitriol in the adrenal gland, regulates tyrosine hydroxylate. This enzyme is necessary for the production of:

  • Dopamine
  • Adrenaline
  • Noradrenaline

The adrenal glands pump these hormones to help us cope with daily stress. Hence, when adrenals have been pumping these powerful hormones for some time, your body will begin to feel exhausted, which leads to chronic fatigue. Not having adequate levels of vitamin D may contribute to chronic fatigue and depression.

References:

  • Vitamin D , Wikipedia.
  • Vitamin D and Health, The Nutrition Source, the Harvard School of Public Health.
  • Vitamin D and Central Hypersensitivity in Patients with Chronic Pain.
  • Garland CF, Garland FC. Do sunlight and vitamin D reduce the likelihood of colon cancer? Int J Epidemiol. 1980; 9:227-31.
  • Bischoff-Ferrari HA, Willett WC, Wong JB, Giovannucci E, Dietrich T, Dawson-Hughes B. Fracture prevention with vitamin D supplementation: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. JAMA. 2005; 293:2257-64.
  • Holick MF. Vitamin D: importance in the prevention of cancers, type 1 diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis. Am J Clin Nutr. 2004; 79:362-71.
  • Lips P. Worldwide status of vitamin D nutrition. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2010; 121:297-300.
  • Holick MF. Vitamin D deficiency. N Engl J Med. 2007; 357:266-81.