A Guide to the D Vitamin
The only vitamin that cannot be acquired through food consumption is vitamin D. The D vitamin is actually acquired through exposure to sunlight on the skin. The risks of getting too much sun have received a lot of media attention, but exposure to sunlight is necessary to get the recommended daily allowance of the vitamin D. In actuality, a person only needs to spend a very brief amount of time in the sun each day to receive an adequate amount of vitamin D and not experience any negative effects from the exposure to ultraviolet light.
The D vitamin’s most crucial role is in regulating how much calcium is absorbed from food. The majority of calcium is used to create healthy teeth and strong bones, but it is also important for nerve transmission and heart muscle contraction. The D vitamin makes sure that there is consistently enough calcium in the blood to carry out these functions. The immune system and other bodily processes that the vitamin D is necessary for are thought to play a role in lowering the risk of cancer, particularly colon cancer.
Vitamin D3, also referred to as cholecalciferol, is the form of the D vitamin that is produced under the skin. This D vitamin is produced when a particular type of naturally occurring cholesterol found under the skin reacts with ultraviolet light from the sun. The liver transforms the D3 into a more active form of the vitamin before directing it to the areas of the body that require it most. To aid in reabsorption of calcium from the blood, some vitamin D is still present in the liver and kidneys. The remainder of the vitamin D is distributed to the intestines and bones to aid in calcium absorption from food and bone retention.
Although the majority of the vitamin D is created when skin is exposed to sunlight, some foods do naturally contain some of the vitamin. Ergocalciferol, also known as vitamin D2, is this form of the D vitamin. This type is used to make the majority of D vitamin supplements and is utilized in the same way as the other D vitamins.