Vitamin D is not just for bones

This is part of our ongoing The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging spotlight. Each day, we will be posting some of the great information that’s packed into our book, The Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging.

Today’s topic:
Vitamin D – Not Just for Good-Looking Bones

Although you and your doctor may not know this, very reliable hard-core research (most funded by the US government) has demonstrated that without a doubt, failing to consume enough vitamin D will increase your chances of developing several chronic conditions.6

As important as it is to consume enough vitamin D to maximize intestinal calcium absorption and minimize PTH secretion, much more vitamin D is necessary to supply enough 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 to the brain, heart, small intestine, colon, prostate, breast, lung, stomach, pancreas, skin, testes, ovaries, parathyroid gland, macrophages, lymphocytes, bone marrow and other organs and tissues to allow them to perform their own local conversion of 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 to 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3.6 In fact, locally-produced 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 is now known to support many physiologic functions in these organs and tissues that are not related to bone health, including regulation of normal blood glucose metabolism, regulation of lymphocyte function, stabilization of heart muscle contractions, normalization of inflammatory responses, production of naturally occurring antibiotics called antimicrobial peptides, promotion of healthy thyroid function, and hundreds of other functions. For example, a 20-year study of 83,779 female nurses (the Nurses’ Health Study) found that women who consumed the RDA for calcium plus at least 800 IU of vitamin D daily were very much more likely to have healthy blood sugar levels when these nutrients were consumed as a part of their diet.19

Next Best Kept Secrets to Healthy Aging topic:
Vitamin D – Promoter of Mature Behavior in Young Cells

References:
6. Holick MF. Vitamin D: importance in the prevention of cancers, type 1 diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis. Am J Clin Nutr 2004;79:362-371.
19. Pittas AG, Dawson-Hughes B, Li T, Van Dam RM, Willett WC, Manson JE, Hu FB. Vitamin D and calcium intake in relation to type 2 diabetes in women. Diabetes Care 2006;29:650-656.


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