What does Vitamin D do?So far, research has made it clear that vitamin D plays a vital role in fighting infections, preventing disease, lessening chronic inflammation, and promoting overall health. Vitamin D achieves this by:
- Influencing approximately 10 percent of all your genes
- Up-regulating your immune system
- Producing over 200 anti-microbial peptides
Breast cancer and Vitamin DIn a recent study, 4500 female breast cancer patients were studied for nine years. Those patients in the group that had high levels of vitamin D also had a chance of survival twice that of patients with low levels of vitamin D. This finding has led another researcher to believe that as many as 90 percent of breast cancer cases may be related to vitamin D deficiency. After all, vitamin D motivates your body’s cancer defenses by inhibiting angiogenesis and promoting apoptosis of cancer cells. Angiogenesis describes the growth of blood vessels that feed tumours and apoptosis is the scientific name for cell death.
Cholesterol and Vitamin DAnother research study found that vitamin D along with calcium lowered LDL cholesterol in postmenopausal women. Thus, maintaining a sufficient level of vitamin D may help you lower your LDL cholesterol.
Autism and Vitamin DA link between vitamin D deficiency and autism spectrum disorder has also been connected, because vitamin D may be involved in converting tryptophan into serotonin in the brain. Vitamin D also activates the hormones oxytocin and vasopressin, which are both associated with social behavior. Furthermore, a large number of vitamin D receptors arise within the brain early in fetal development. Once those receptors are activated by vitamin D, nerve growth significantly increases. So, pregnant women who get plenty of vitamin D may considerably limit the risk of their child developing autism.
Tips for maximising your Vitamin D intakeClearly, avoiding vitamin D deficiency is essential to supporting your overall health. But boosting supplementation or sun exposure may or may not be right for you. The required level of vitamin D varies from one individual to the next, so you should ‘Ask a Naturopath’ for assistance. Also, consider the following:
- Vitamin D from sun exposure is best because it is water soluble and travels freely into your bloodstream
- Consuming equal amounts of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids prevents skin cancer from increased sun exposure
- Taking vitamin K2 with a vitamin D supplement helps your body manage where vitamin D and calcium are used