What is vitamin D?
Vitamin D is a crucial compound that mediates several physiological functions in the body. This vitamin is unique since it functions more like a hormone, and every cell has its receptor.
The process of producing vitamin D in the body is absolutely fascinating and involves multi-step physiology that starts at the level of the skin
Here’s a summary about this process:
How vitamin D is produced?
- when the body synthesizes cholesterol, it will get converted at the skin level by a chemical reaction that involves sunlight exposure (i.e. photons).
- once the cholesterol is transformed into an active form of vitamin D, the liver will produce a special enzyme that catalyzes a second metabolic reaction.
- finally, the kidneys release an enzyme to produce the active form of vitamin D, which is known as 1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol.
The active form of the vitamin provides several benefits to the body, including:
- Improves bone mineral density and decreases the risk of osteoporosis
- Facilitates hormonal regulation in both males and females
- Helps manage blood sugar levels
- Boosts the immune system
- Reduces oxidative stress
- Improves cardiovascular health
- Sharpens memory and improves cognitive functions
As you can see, vitamin D affects a multitude of organs and its deficiency can lead to dire consequences. Unfortunately, most people don’t get enough sunlight exposure, hence the low levels of vitamin D in their bloodstream. This is especially true for individuals living in cloudy areas, such as Europe and North America.
To counter this issue, experts recommend taking vitamin D dietary supplements to meet your daily needs.