Sunshine Vitamin Has D-lightful Health Benefits

amrocrm By amrocrm, 7th Aug 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Health>Alternative Medicine

When it comes to the family of vitamins, vitamin D stands alone. It is the only vitamin the body can produce on its own. That's because it is actually a hormone. Due to its unique status, vitamin D surpasses all other vitamins in the multitude of health benefits it offers.

History of Vitamin D

Vitamin D was discovered in the early part of the 20th century. Large numbers of children were developing rickets, a softening and weakening of the bones that often caused significant deformity and multiple fractures. When a researcher found that cod liver oil could prevent rickets, he named the nutritional factor in it that promoted calcium deposition, vitamin D.

Since rickets was thought to be another vitamin-deficiency disease like scurvy or beriberi, the cure was given the next letter in the vitamin alphabet, following the already existing A, B and C. We now know that vitamin D should probably never have been labeled a vitamin at all.

Sources of Vitamin D

Vitamin D has long been recognized as the "sunshine vitamin" because it is naturally produced when skin is exposed to sunlight's UVB rays. Actually, exposure to sunlight is the only natural source of significant amounts of vitamin D. However, getting enough sun exposure to produce adequate amounts of vitamin D can be difficult. It can vary greatly depending upon the time of day, season, latitude, age, skin pigmentation and the amount of skin not covered with clothing or sunscreen.

Dietary intake is not a good option for vitamin D because, with the exception of oily fish and fish-liver oil, vitamin D does not naturally occur in food. Milk and other dairy products, orange juice and breakfast cereals have been fortified with small amounts of vitamin D, but it is virtually impossible to get adequate amounts through your diet. It would take 5 cans of tuna, 10 eggs, 10 glasses of milk, or up to 17 cups of breakfast cereal to get 1000 IU of vitamin D.

Because it is so difficult to get adequate amounts of vitamin D from natural sources, supplementation is usually the most practical solution.

Dangers of a D-ficiency

Many years ago it was thought that the only significant danger from a vitamin D deficiency was the development of rickets in children. That is why milk and other foods first began to be fortified with vitamin D as far back as the 1930s. As it turns out, rickets was just the tip of the iceberg.

Next, vitamin D deficiency was found to be a key factor in other bone diseases like osteopenia (thinning bones), osteoporosis (porous, brittle bones), and osteomalacia (a softening of bones in adults, often starting with insidious muscle weakness and aches and pains in the lower back & thighs, later spreading to arms and ribs).

In more recent years scientists have discovered that a vitamin D deficiency may contribute to an even wider variety of health problems. Michael F. Holick, PhD, MD, in a 2006 report in the journal Mayo Clinic Proceedings, stated, "Many lines of research support the concept that inadequate vitamin D may be involved in the pathogenesis and/or progression of several disorders, including cancer, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, neuromuscular diseases, osteoarthritis, diabetes, and other autoimmune diseases."
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author avatar Delicia Powers
9th Aug 2011 (#)

Thank you, very imformative article, well done!

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