Vitamin D is also known as “SUNSHINE VITAMIN” due to its synthesis after the skin is exposed to sunlight. This vitamin is a group of hormone-like chemicals called steroid alcohols. Vitamin D2 [Ergocalciferol] is produced from provitamin ergosterol in plants. Vitamin D3 [Cholecalciferol] is derived from provitamin dehydrocholesterol.
FUNCTIONS OF VITAMIN D
- Maintenance of Bone health.
- Building immunity
- Regulate insulin secretion & facilitate calcium & phosphorus absorption
- Plays an important role in the management of obesity.
SOURCES OF VITAMIN D
The best way to improve the uptake of vitamin D is exposure to sunlight. However, the intake of certain food can also increase the vitamin levels in the body.
- Meat: Organ meat is the best way to boost your intake of this essential nutrient.
- Mushroom: Just like humans, mushrooms synthesize the vitamin when exposed to sunlight.
- Fish: The more oily or fatty fish, they are more likely to contain vitamin D. Salmon, trout, mackerel are few examples.
- Eggs: While egg whites are known for their protein quality, yolks are also important. The egg yolk also contains vitamin D just like other vitamins and minerals.
VITAMIN D & WEIGHT LOSS
Studies suggest that vitamin D reduces the formation of new fat cells also suppressing the storage of fat cells which effectively reduces fat accumulation.
Serotonin, a neurotransmitter is responsible to regulate everything from mood to sleep. Vitamin D can increase serotonin levels. Serotonin plays a role in controlling your appetite by increasing satiety, decreasing calorie intake, therefore helping in reducing body weight.
Vitamin D is also associated with higher levels of testosterone. Testosterone can help to reduce body fat, build stronger muscles and help sustain long-term weight loss.
VITAMIN D & IMMUNITY
Vitamin D plays a crucial role in activating immune defenses. When a T cell is exposed to a foreign pathogen, it extends a signaling device known as vitamin D receptor with which it searches vitamin D. After activation T cells transform into immune cells that will attack & destroy all cells carrying traces of foreign pathogen. This means T cells must have vitamin D or activation of the cell will stop. If T cells do not find enough vitamin D in the blood, they won’t even mobilize.
VITAMIN D & BONE HEALTH
Vitamin D enhances calcium absorption in the small intestine & stimulates osteoclast differentiation and calcium reabsorption of bone. It also helps in promoting the mineralization of the collagen matrix in bone.