Often called the “Sunshine Vitamin,” Vitamin D3 is actually not a vitamin at all. Rather, it is a hormone produced by the body when stimulated by sunlight.
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For various reasons, most people are no longer able to produce the necessary amount of this “vitamin.” These reasons include: living in a geographical area in which there is often little sunlight available, using SPF products to protect against the negative effects of too much sunlight, the current state of production, shipping and storage of the few fresh foods that would naturally provide Vitamin D3, certain medical conditions that preclude the synthesis of the vitamin, among many other factors. Although some foods are now being artificially enhanced with Vitamin D, there are not enough of them to provide all we need.
A few years ago, Vitamin D was thought to do nothing more than allow calcium to be absorbed for good bone health. New research suggests that vitamin D may be one of the best vitamins of all for your body as scientists have uncovered up to 2,000 different genes—roughly one-sixth of the human genome—that are regulated by the nutrient. That means almost everything in your body relies on it. The problem is that most of us are not spending enough time in the sun for our bodies to produce Vitamin D, nor do our foods any longer provide what we need.
Up to 77 percent of Americans are vitamin D deficient1. Low Vitamin D levels will result in your body working far below its potential. What's most remarkable about vitamin D is the sheer number of health issues it's been linked to. It affects cell death and proliferation, insulin production, and even the immune system2, as well as depression, heart disease, pregnancy problems, birth defects, skin and other cancers, and multiple sclerosis.
Vitamin D regulates calcium and phosphorus, is essential to a healthy immune system, promotes cellular differentiation, is a potent anti-inflammatory, helps regulate blood sugar levels, and helps lower blood pressure, among many, many other things, including:
1 The Archives of Internal Medicine
2 Michael F Holick, PhD, MD, director of the vitamin D, skin and bone research laboratory at Boston University Medical Center
3 Harvard School of Public Health