StemCell Doctors

by Tracy Smith

Technically, Vitamin D is not a true vitamin because, under the right circumstances, the body can synthesize its own using sunlight and cholesterol. It s really a steroid hormone that strongly affects gene expression and resistance to multiple diseases. It s vitally necessary for life and health, and new discoveries show that it s more important for vibrant, youthful health than we ever thought before. Vitamin D deficiency is chronic around the world, even in developed countries. It s estimated that the incidence of many cancers could be cut in half if we all got enough of this important nutrient. (ILLUSTRATION: Vitamin D3 is often available in gel caplet form.)

Humans and, in fact, most mammals create their own Vitamin D when exposed to direct sunlight. But, because excessive exposure to the Sun is known to increase the risk of skin cancer, doctors generally don t recommend being out in the sunlight as a way to get adequate Vitamin D. Instead, supplements are called for.

Vitamin D, in its D3 form known to chemists as cholecalciferol (don t worry, I won t force you to pronounce it!), is absolutely necessary for health. It was first discovered over a century ago when doctors were trying to find a cure for rickets, a serious bone disease that often affects children. It was noticed that this disease started to become much more common during the Industrial Revolution, when large numbers of people moved from the countryside and outdoors work to polluted cities where they worked in dark, dingy factories. Scientists also found that those living in warm, sunny places were much less likely to contract rickets than those living in cloudy, northern, high-latitude climates. Eventually it was discovered that Sun exposure or the taking of cod liver oil could absolutely prevent the disease, proving it to be a deficiency disease, meaning that it is not caused by a virus or other microorganism, but by a simple lack of something essential in the victim s diet. That something proved to be Vitamin D.

Vitamin D deficiency is very common. A study in France showed that fully 14 percent of otherwise healthy adults had extremely low levels of Vitamin D. Another study, this one of medical professionals living in New England, indicated that 42 percent of them had a Vitamin D deficiency by the end of Winter among those who did not take D3 supplements. But among those who did supplement their diet with D3, the deficiency rate was only 11 percent!

It s pretty clear that without enough of this vitamin, you can get very sick indeed. And it s also clear that many of us, in fact, aren t getting enough. But there s a lot more to Vitamin D3 than preventing rickets. The vitamin has anti-aging and anti-inflammatory aspects, and it has been shown to positively affect your mental outlook, too, helping to combat depression. Vitamin D3 can even help improve the lifespan and survival of the neurons which make up your brain and nervous system. Let s take a look at what it can do for you!

One of the major problems faced by older women is osteoporosis, which greatly increases the risk of bone fractures and hip fractures late in life can sometimes amount to a death sentence. In a study commissioned by the Women s Health Initiative, it was found that women on a Vitamin D3 and calcium carbonate supplementation program had 12 percent fewer hip fractures that women taking a placebo. These effects were seen on fairly high doses of D3 over 800 IU per day.

Vitamin D3 boosts your immune system and your body s ability to fight off all kinds of diseases. Immune system cells have structures with Vitamin D receptors, and it s been shown that being deficient in this vitamin increases your risk of of infection generally and especially increases your risk of autoimmune diseases.

Vitamin D3 helps your body fight off viral respiratory infections.

Vitamin D3 also has been shown to be beneficial in helping your body fight off the flu.

Excerpt from:
StemCell Doctors

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