VITAMIN D3 – “The Sunshine Vitamin”
Research suggests that up to 85% of people could be deficient in Vitamin D without knowing it, leaving them with less than optimal health. Nearly every organ in the body, as well as the bones, contains receptors for Vitamin D and every cell and tissue requires Vitamin D for its well-being! Our skin, the largest organ of the body, makes Vitamin D from sunlight, and also contains receptors for the more active, circulating form of Vitamin D.
All cells and tissues have Vitamin D receptors and Vitamin D is responsible for the regulation of over 2,000 genes in the human body and serves a wide range of fundamental biological functions relating to many aspects of health.
The skin naturally produces Vitamin D from direct exposure to bright sunshine. Unfortunately, because of the fear of skin cancer, this has created a fear of sunshine. It is not the sun that one should be frightened of but the burn from over exposure. Many people avoid the sun or apply sunscreens that block the beneficial wavelengths that produce Vitamin D in your skin. Also, between the ages of 20-70 your skin loses about 75% of its ability to produce Vitamin D3 and with ageing, the skin begins to atrophy and age prematurely.
Having too little Vitamin D may not have any outwardly obvious signs, yet Vitamin D3 specifically impacts on an incredible array of support for systems and functions in the body.
HOW DOES A LACK OF VITAMIN D AFFECT THE BODY?
- Heart health
- Cell formation and cell longevity
- Skin health
- Pancreatic health
- Ageing process
- Sleep patterns
- Reproductive health
- Athletic performance
- Eye health
- Vascular system health
- Respiratory health
- Immune system health
- Weight management, including carbohydrate and fat metabolism
- Hair and hair follicles
- Strong and healthy bones, because Vitamin D encourages calcium uptake
- Proper digestion and food absorption
- Vitamin D3 – Research shows a protective effect against life threatening cancers such as colon, prostate, and breast cancer
Since healthy levels of Vitamin D protect and promote so many of the body's functions, a deficiency may mean the body lacks essentials for optimal health.
THOSE MORE PRONE TO VITAMIN D DEFICIENCY:
- People with limited sunlight exposure
- People who work indoors during sunlight hours
- Cultural dress codes
- People living in areas of high air pollution, blocking sun rays
- Overweight people often have considerably higher needs for Vitamin D because it is oil soluble and becomes hidden in fat
- Pregnant women - New evidence suggests that Vitamin D levels during pregnancy may be critically important for mother and child
- The elderly - With age the skin loses its ability to generate Vitamin D as well as the fact that the elderly tend to spend more time indoors
- Dark-skinned people have higher melanin levels, which blocks UVB radiation and limits the body's ability to produce Vitamin D3
- People prone to osteoporosis - Vitamin D3 helps regulate and maintain calcium levels in the body
HOW CAN ONE ENSURE A REGULAR AND SAFE DOSE OF VITAMIN D3?
The best way to get Vitamin D is through direct sunlight on the skin but that is not always possible. Vitamin D is rare in foods and available in very limited quantities in liver, fatty fish and dairy products, but the amount one would need to consume would be unacceptable. So, if one does not want to sit in the sun, or may live in a climate with very little sunshine, then the perfect alternative would be to apply topically a product containing a high percentage of Vitamin D3. This would ensure one receives an essential infusion of Vitamin D3 on a daily basis over the whole body, releasing an optimum amount into the skin, safely and efficiently.
WHY SHOULD I CHOOSE TOPICAL VITAMIN D3 RATHER THAN SUPPLEMENTS?
Regarding skin health and anti-ageing - oral supplements completely bypass the skin and never deliver the essential amount of Vitamin D3 skin needs to stay healthy, functional and youthful. The skin is the last organ in the body to receive the nutrition from foods and supplements, such as antioxidants, that are ingested into the body and the last to receive, if at all, from the circulating Vitamin D3 from an oral supplement.
Supplementing with oral Vitamin D would require supervision and regular blood testing to ensure one does not overdose. Also bear in mind that many supplements are affected (and sometimes totally destroyed) by gastric acids and in certain forms Vitamin D can be harmful.
Though sun exposure and Vitamin D3 supplements keep your immune system strong, your mood stable and prevent cancer, your skin is the last organ to receive the Vitamin D3 circulating in the blood and thus the last to receive the benefits. Without adequate Vitamin D3 in the skin, the skin will be unable to offer the protection and immunity that healthy skin should provide. New research shows topical Vitamin D3 on the skin increases protective peptides that help repair the skin and protect it from premature ageing.
When applied topically the active form of Vitamin D3 penetrates the fatty phospholipid layer of the skin and migrates directly to the nucleus of the cell. Here it binds with Vitamin D3 receptors where it controls many processes including skin repair, skin cell production and the immune function of the skin. Skin cells naturally die at a rate of about 30-40,000 cells per minute. Vitamin D3 plays a vital role in the production of specialized cells called keratinocytes, which are responsible for the production of millions of new healthy skin cells and moisture the skin needs to stay supple and soft. Without these the skin will dry out, wrinkle, sag and become thin, fragile and aged.
WHY CHOOSE VITAMIN D3 (CALCIFEROL)?
Vitamin D is not beneficial in all forms. Vitamin D supplements in the form of medication can be dangerous without medical supervision and regular blood testing. Vitamin D2 has a shorter shelf life, and is broken down by the body into different substances. It absorbs poorly, but can actually be toxic! Vitamin D3 matches the Vitamin D3 produced in human skin, has a long shelf life and is broken down by the body into a substance called calcitrol, which is really good for the body and actually has very important cancer fighting properties.
Vitamin D3 is naturally occurring and the most effective form of Vitamin D. Vitamin D3 elicits a faster response and is extremely safe despite having a higher potency.
WHO BENEFITS FROM DAILY APPLICATION OF VITAMIN D3 BODY PROTECTING SERUM?
All those indicated in the list of the most prone to Vitamin D deficiency – which is 85% of the population. All skins, all age groups, all ethnicities, all climates, can benefit from the actions of topical Vitamin D3. It helps to maintain skin and body health as well as having a beneficial effect on conditions such as psoriasis, dermatitis, eczema, rosacea, acne, and any inflammatory skin condition.
VITAMIN D AND PREGNANCY
Speaking at the British Endocrine Societies meeting in Birmingham, Dr Chantal Mathieu (University of Leuven, Belgium) said that research had shown that low levels of Vitamin D are associated with autoimmune diseases. This is particularly important during pregnancy, when the nutritional requirement of the developing baby means that mothers can easily develop shortages of Vitamin D.
Pregnant mothers are particularly liable to develop Vitamin D deficiency, and so they are at increased risk of developing autoimmune diseases through being pregnant.
There are two ways of ensuring you have enough Vitamin D. You can make sure that you get an adequate amount of sunshine - bearing in mind that this has to be done sensibly, because too much sunshine can cause problems such as skin cancer. Or it might be easier simply to take vitamin supplements during pregnancy.
VITAMIN D AND COLON CANCER
The most active vitamin D metabolite, 1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25(OH)2D3), is a pleiotropic hormone with wide regulatory actions. Classically, Vitamin D deficiency was known to alter calcium and phosphate metabolism and bone biology.
In addition, recent epidemiological and experimental studies support the association of Vitamin D deficiency with a large variety of human diseases, and particularly with the high risk of colorectal cancer. By regulating the expression of many genes via several mechanisms, 1,25(OH)2D3 induces differentiation, controls the detoxification metabolism and cell phenotype, sensitises cells to apoptosis and inhibits the proliferation of cultured human colon carcinoma cells. Consistently, 1,25(OH)2D3 and several of its analogues decrease intestinal tumourigenesis in animal models.
Molecular, genetic and clinical data in humans are scarce but they suggest that Vitamin D is protective against colon cancer. Clearly, the available evidence warrants new, well-designed, large-scale trials to clarify the role of Vitamin D in the prevention and/or therapy of this important neoplasia.