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What is the major role of vitamin D?


What vitamin D is needed for, not every person knows This element plays a very important role in the body.

Unlike other vitamins, vitamin D acts as a hormone, every cell in the body has a receptor. 
  • the skeleton is normally formed
  • immunity increases, blood pressure and heartbeat improve. 
  • Lack of vitamin is manifested by frequent colds, hair loss, depression. 

It is estimated that about 1 billion people have low levels of vitamin D.

the overabundance of the vitamin does not lead to anything good, so you need to know the norm and check your level. 

To do this, it is necessary to pass special tests. After that, the doctor may prescribe vitamin D in supplements. 

In addition, it is worth diversifying your menu with products rich in this vitamin. 

foods have a lot of vitamin D.

In general, prepare a leaf and a pen, register then a lot of useful information about vitamin D.

vitamin D

Key Functions of Vitamin D

Vitamin D (calciferol) - two substances similar in structure and action: 

  • vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) 
  • vitamin D3 (colecalciferol or cholecalciferol).

Under the influence of sunlight in the skin from provitamins (from food and synthesis from cholesterol), vitamin D3 is synthesized. In the body, from these two forms (D2, D3), the active product of their conversion - calcitriol - is formed and used. It is formed in two stages:

  1. in the liver
  2. in the kidneys

The history of the discovery of vitamin D is associated with the study of retinol or vitamin A. In the early 20th century, it was found that fish oil is rich in retinol. As an experiment, fish oil began to be given to dogs.

After some time, scientists drew attention to the fact that animals stopped suffering from rickets, which was one of the main problems of paediatrics at that time.

Experts tried to link rickets with vitamin A deficiency, but Elmer McCollum, who discovered retinol, refuted this hypothesis. He conducted his experiments with dogs with rickets: for some time, McCollum gave them fish oil with neutralized retinol. This led the scientist to the idea that the cure comes from some other substance, which is also contained in fish oil. So at the beginning of the 20th century, vitamin D was discovered.

After about a year, scientists found that if you expose food to ultraviolet light, the amount of vitamin D in it increases. 

So it was established that the sun is the source of this valuable element.

The main functions of vitamin D:

  1. Contributes to the normal formation of the skeleton.
  2. Provides the exchange of calcium and phosphorus in the body.
  3. Promotes muscle tone.
  4. Increases immunity.
  5. It is necessary for the functioning of the thyroid gland and normal blood clotting.
  6. Helps the body repair the protective membranes surrounding the nerves.
  7. Participates in the regulation of blood pressure and heartbeat.
  8. Helps the body repair the protective membranes surrounding the nerves.
  9. Participates in the regulation of blood pressure and heartbeat.

The relationship of vitamin D deficiency with autoimmune and oncological diseases is assumed and actively investigated.

The main types of vitamin D

The main types of vitamin D

Vitamins of group D are biologically active substances.

The group includes the following elements:

  • D1
It consists of two components: lumisterol and ergocalciferol. It is obtained artificially. It does not play a significant role for humans and medicine.

  • D2 (ergocalciferol)

A person can receive this element only with food. Also found in dietary supplements. Regulates the exchange of calcium and phosphorus in the body.
  • D3 (cholecalciferol or colecalciferol)
Their entire group is the most active substance. Its sources for humans are food (fish, caviar, butter, cheese, chanterelle mushrooms) and sunlight.

Even a five-minute stay in direct sunlight can be enough for the body to develop a daily norm of vitamin D3.

  • D4 (dehydrocholesterol)
Contained in the skin. Under the action of ultraviolet rays, it turns into D3 in the epidermis.

  • D5 (sitocalciferol)

This is a synthetic analogue of vitamin D3, first produced in Chicago. Practically non-toxic. It is used in the treatment of cancer. In nature, it was found in wheat oil.

  • D6 (stigmacalciferol)

Calceferol metabolism in the body

In order for vitamin D to start working in the body, it must go through two stages of activation that will trigger its mechanism of action:

  1. In the liver, the substance interacts with enzymes and is converted to calcidiol (25(OH)D3). It is on the basis of the content of calcitriol in the blood serum that it is established whether there is enough vitamin D in the body.
  2. At the second stage, the active form of vitamin D is formed in the kidneys - calcitriol (1,25 (OH) 2D3). It has a steroid nature.

Calcitriol is responsible for the metabolism of phosphate and calcium in the body. In intestinal cells, it stimulates the production of a special protein that transports calcium into the blood. And in the urinary tract, it affects the muscles, enhancing the reverse absorption of calcium.

The production of vitamin D in the human body is regulated by the parathyroid hormone (PTH). The level of PTH is directly related to the amount of calcitriol, phosphorus and calcium: the more of these elements, the less parathyroid hormone and active enzymes are needed to replenish the content of vitamin D.

After completing its work, vitamin D under the action of enzymes turns into an inactive substance (metabolite calcitroic acid), which leaves the body along with bile.

The question of the effect of vitamin D on the human body is still open. Scientists continue to study this substance. Perhaps, shortly, new discoveries that can improve human life and health will be associated with it.

Interaction with other elements

The human body is a very complex system in which all the elements are in constant interaction. And on how well-coordinated their work is, the health and general well-being of a person directly depends. The effectiveness of vitamins can be enhanced by "helper molecules", or cofactors. These are small compounds that are involved in biochemical processes. The most significant cofactors that enhance the effect of vitamin D include:

  • Calcium

As already mentioned, vitamin D controls the level of calcium in the body. The mineral is well absorbed only with a sufficient amount of calcitriol. Therefore, these two substances are inextricably linked with each other.

  • Magnesium. 

This element performs a lot of functions. For example, it is needed to ensure that food is converted into energy.

Magnesium is also involved in the absorption of calcium, phosphorus, sodium, potassium and vitamin D. Magnesium deficiency can be compensated not only with the help of supplements but also by including foods such as spinach, nuts, seeds, whole grains in the diet.

  • Vitamin K. 

This element is responsible for bone health, and also increases blood clotting, so it is simply necessary for the human body. If it is not, people will begin to die from the slightest injuries. Vitamins D and K work together when it comes to the proper evolution of the skeletal system. You can replenish the reserves of vitamin K with the help of products such as curly cabbage, spinach, liver, eggs and hard cheese.

  • Zinc. 

Multifunctional element. With its participation, the body grows and develops, new cells are formed in it, infections are fought and fats, carbohydrates and proteins are fully absorbed. 

Zinc also facilitates the absorption of vitamin D and helps calcium get into bone tissue. A person can get this element along with meat, vegetables and some grains.

  • Boron. 

This substance is required by a person quite a bit, but it is still indispensable. 

Boron is involved in the metabolism and absorption of vitamin D. Found in peanut butter, wine, avocado, raisins and in some leafy vegetables.

  • Vitamin A. 

Controls protein synthesis. Together with vitamin D, it participates in the work of the genetic code. 

If a person has a lack of retinol, then the functionality of vitamin D will be impaired. 

Vitamin A is found in carrots, mangoes, liver, butter, cheese and milk. Retinol is a fat-soluble substance and the strongest antioxidant. If it enters the body from plant foods, then it should be combined with fat-containing foods. So retinol will be better absorbed.

    Signs of Vitamin D Deficiency

In the early 20th century, many children suffered from rickets. This disease develops due to a lack of vitamin D. In adults, with a deficiency of this element, osteoporosis, intestinal obstruction appear and immunity weakens.

The initial symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include 

  1. weakness
  2. sweating
  3. irritability
  4. decreased performance and appetite,
  5. sleep disturbances,
  6. dryness and burning in the mouth.
Due to weakened immunity, a person begins to suffer from colds and infectious diseases more often. 

Disturbances in the work of immunity can even lead to the development of autoimmune and oncological pathologies.

With a deficiency of calciferol, there is a failure in the synthesis of connective tissue, for example, cartilage. From this, a person may experience pain in the joints and spine. Also, with a lack of vitamin D, the production of collagen is disturbed, and the skin begins to age faster.

Another problem is that when the body lacks calciferol, calcium begins to accumulate in it. Bones become very fragile and break easily, teeth are destroyed.

Vitamin D is responsible for the conductivity of nerve impulses. Its lack leads to a cut of the smooth muscles of the intestine and its obstruction. Multiple sclerosis, skeletal muscle damage, and visual impairment may also develop.

The lack of calciferol affects even the reproductive system. In women, the process of maturation of eggs stops, and in men, testosterone production decreases, which can lead to impotence.

Causes of vitamin D deficiency in the body

Why is the human body catastrophically lacking vitamin D? 

The reasons are obvious. This vitamin is synthesized in the skin in extremely small quantities and only under the influence of sunlight, but we spend little time in the sun, constantly staying indoors. And even in the long-awaited vacation on a sunny beach, we protect ourselves as much as possible from UVB rays with the help of sunscreens.

Also, vitamin D enters the body with food, but, again, not always in sufficient quantities.

Deficiency of this vitamin is characteristic of those who suffer from diseases of the kidneys, liver and gallbladder, experience digestive problems due to violations of the microbial environment of the intestine (in this case, vitamin D is poorly absorbed from food and is worse converted into an active form).

A lack of vitamins of group D is often faced by lovers of soda, dairy products and some other types of food rich in phosphates. Excess phosphorus in the body prevents the full absorption and use of vitamin D.

The human body has about 30 thousand genes, and among them, only 2 thousand are affected by vitamin D. However, its lack creates a lot of problems: a person can develop various unpleasant diseases, the total number of which exceeds 200. This is a good reason to take care of the optimal level of vitamin D in the body.

Consequences of vitamin D deficiency in the body

  • Skin diseases (psoriasis, eczema, etc.), excessive sweating, problems with wound healing. There is clinical evidence that this is due to a lack of vitamin D.

  • Partial baldness, hair loss. The correlation of poor hair condition with low levels of vitamin D has been proven for quite some time. Moreover, high doses of this vitamin are successfully used to treat alopecia areata.

  • Bleeding gums, frequent caries, loss of teeth, increased sensitivity of enamel, unpleasant sensations in the mouth.

  • Weakening of immunity and frequent cases of infection with bacterial and viral infections. If you are constantly sick with ARVI and influenza, the reason most likely lies in the lack of vitamin D. In children, its deficiency manifests itself in frequent pneumonia, bronchitis. In severe cases, an autoimmune disease may even develop.

  • Increased fatigue, weakness.

  • Problems with the musculoskeletal system: aching pain in the joints, osteoporosis, decreased muscle tone, convulsions.

  • Depressive states and other mental disorders. More than 600 studies have been conducted proving their association with vitamin D deficiency.

Thousands of studies have been conducted on the topic of hypovitaminosis D and its consequences, which include premature birth and slowing of fetal development, rickets in children, cardiovascular disorders, infertility, cancer, erectile dysfunction in men and endometriosis in women, various allergies, thyroid diseases, gestational diabetes and type 1 diabetes, autoimmune diseases. Even tooth decay and obesity are associated with low levels of vitamin D!.

Consequences of hypervitaminosis (an overabundance of vitamin D)

An overdose of vitamin D is almost more dangerous than its lack. In Soviet times, it was believed that it was better to have a mild form of rickets than an overabundance of calciferol.

Hypervitaminosis can be acute or chronic.

  1. The acute form occurs in children if they have been taking vitamin D in high dosages for a long time. The condition may worsen due to hypersensitivity to the drug.
  2. headache, muscle and joint pain, convulsions;
  3. increased body temperature and blood pressure, slow pulse, difficulty breathing.

The chronic form develops as a result of the use of calciferol in therapeutic doses for a long time, at least six months.

Its signs are:

  • lack of appetite, lethargy, a decrease in the rate of weight gain or a complete lack of growth;
  • changes in bone tissue due to increased calcium content: rapid overgrowth of the large fontanel, ossification of the sutures of the bones of the skull, partial ossification of the germ zone of long bones;
  • increased calcium content in the blood, which leads to the fact that the mineral begins to be deposited on the walls of the blood vessels of internal organs: in the kidneys, heart, lungs, etc. This, in turn, disrupts their work.

Intoxication with calciferol has three forms, which depend on the degree of severity: 

  1. mild (without toxicosis),
  2. medium (with moderate toxicosis)
  3. severe (with severe toxicosis).

Mild intoxication can pass without a trace. After a severe form, complications can remain for life. 

Here, the greatest harm is caused by calcium deposits on the walls of blood vessels and in internal organs. 

The work of most body systems is disrupted. Children may develop chronic pyelonephritis and improper teething.

In adults, an overabundance of calciferol leads to an increase in blood pressure and the development of cardiosclerosis, which in turn causes heart rhythm disturbances.

How to Find Out Your Vitamin D Levels

To determine the level of vitamin D, a special blood test is taken - for 25-OH. 

Blood is examined by high-performance liquid chromatography with mass spectrometry (HPLC/MS).

Several laboratories instead use the ELISA method, which shows a lower degree of reliability (since it is not intended in principle to measure the level of vitamins of group D and captures many adjacent metabolites, and the result is overestimated by 55%). In the absence of laboratories nearby that take an analysis for 25-OH, you can donate blood for ELISA, but you should remember the error of this method.

If the result of the analysis was less than 50 ng/ml, this indicates that the body badly needs vitamin D and lacks it. An even lower indicator, 35 ng / ml or less, indicates problems with the absorption of magnesium, calcium, zinc and other trace elements from food, and if vitamin D has dropped below 20 ng/ml, this is already a serious deficiency. 

 Rules for taking vitamin D

Most domestic doctors recommend making up for the lack of this valuable vitamin, taking it in doses of 400-800 IU. But this is too low a dosage, which is unlikely to have a noticeable effect. Even 5000 IU (a prophylactic dose of vitamin D for residents of the regions of the North) is not enough: it only allows you to reach the lower limit of the norm.

The optimal dosage for those suffering from hypovitaminosis D with an indicator of 20-40 ng - 10,000 IU daily for two to three months. This is an amount of substance approximately equal to that which will be produced by the human body under UV rays in 20-30 minutes (without SPF creams, of course). After a two-three month course, the analysis is again taken, and if the vitamin level is restored, they switch to a lower dose - 4000-5000 IU (maintenance).

If the 25-OH analysis showed a result of 1-20 ng, then it is necessary to take 20,000 IU of vitamin D every day, and then, for a month, 7,000-10,000 units. This is followed by control, and, if the dynamics are positive, the level of the vitamin is maintained with a prophylactic dose of 5000 IU, regardless of the time of year. 

With the results of the analysis above 40 ng, you need to take for one to one and a half months at 7,000 IU daily, and then maintain the level of the vitamin with a dose of 5,000 units.

There are also higher dosages. They are prescribed, in particular, for tuberculosis and autoimmune diseases. At 30,000-40,000 IU per day, patients should take for a long period (naturally, under the supervision of a doctor).

In general, to correct the situation with a lack of vitamin D in the body in 90% of cases is quite difficult. 

This vitamin is by no means harmless: a long intake of ultra-high doses (more than 40,000 units) is fraught with toxic effects and overdose. 

For people who have genetic mutations of VDR (genetic polymorphism of receptors for this vitamin, which are present in almost every cell of the body), even such giant doses do not help to at least minimally improve the level of D. 

They have to take it in the form of injections. The same applies to people with gastrointestinal diseases.

Slow down the treatment process such problems as lack of cofactors, overweight, problems with the intestinal flora, gallbladder, kidneys and liver. 

An inhibitory effect is also exerted by pathogens:

  • HIV. This virus binds to VDR(R) receptors and prevents them from converting the vitamin from food into the active form D.
  • Living Borrelia. Lyme/Borrelia reduces the VDR of monocytes by a factor of 50.
  • The Epstein-Barr virus, or herpesvirus, reduces VDR by almost five times.
  • Koch's bacillus and other Mycobacteriumtuberculosiscomplex that cause tuberculosis. The sensitivity of the receptors decreases by 3.3 times.
  • Cytomegalovirus (CMV) reduces VDR by 2.2 times.
  • Acpergillusfumigus is often associated with cystic fibrosis.
  • Helicobacter pylori. ( Helicobacter pylori).
  • Pseudomonasaeruginosa.
Vitamin D receptors can be activated with the help of gamma-tocotrienols, Omega-3, Resveratrol, curcumin. These drugs work even with VDR mutations.

Foods Rich in Vitamin D

Foods Rich in Vitamin D

Among the foods rich in vitamin D, fish is in the lead. Calciferol is also found in whole milk and its products (cheese, butter), but in smaller amounts and in a form that is difficult to digest.

The main source of vitamin D is fish oil. 100 g of the product contains 250 mcg of calciferol. This is 2500% of the daily value needed by an adult.

The following is a list of dishes that contain vitamin D. The amount of calciferol per 100 g of product as a percentage of the daily intake is indicated in parentheses:

  1. Cod liver (1000%).
  2. Fatty herring (300%).
  3. Keta (163%).
  4. Atlantic salmon (110%).
  5. Pink salmon (109%).
  6. Black Caviar (80%).
  7. Egg yolk (77 %).
  8. Tuna (57 %).
  9. Chanterelle mushrooms – (53%).

As you can see, among the first are different varieties of fish. It has more vitamin D than eggs or mushrooms. Therefore, housewives are recommended to cook fish dishes for their families more often. So both children and adults will receive the required amount of calciferol.

Vitamin D in cosmetology

Vitamin D is a valuable element not only for health but also for beauty. It is actively used in cosmetology. Vitamin D has a beneficial effect on the skin and hair, nourishing them and rejuvenating them. There are many recipes for various masks with calciferol, below are the most popular and most effective of them:

  • Masks with fish oil for the skin of the face
This recipe is especially relevant for ageing and dry skin. It is necessary to mix 1 tablespoon of yeast, 1 tablespoon of sour cream, 1 teaspoon of fish oil and the same amount of honey. Put the resulting gruel in a water bath until it begins to ferment. Then apply the mixture to the face and neck and leave for 10 minutes. After the end of the exposure time, rinse with warm water.

There is a simpler option: you need to mix one teaspoon of fish oil and honey and add 1 tablespoon of boiled water. Apply the mask to the face and neck and leave for 10-12 minutes. This recipe helps to smooth out fine wrinkles and improve the color and condition of the skin.

The following mask is suitable for all skin types. Her recipe is not simple, but effective: you need to mix 1 teaspoon of eggshell powder, 1 teaspoon of fish oil, 1 egg yolk, 2 teaspoons of mustard honey and half a cup of boiled pumpkin pulp. The mask is applied to the skin warm and left for 1-15 minutes, after which it must be washed off with water.

  • Masks with egg for the skin of the face 
You can choose a recipe for any age and skin type. For example, for ageing skin, it is recommended to mix 1 tablespoon of crushed dried lemon peel, 1 egg yolk and 1 teaspoon of olive oil. For any skin, the following recipe is suitable: 2 proteins, 1 tablespoon of honey, half a teaspoon of almond oil and 2 tablespoons of oatmeal. This mask perfectly nourishes and has a slight whitening effect. Dry fading skin can be nourished with a mixture of 1 tablespoon of banana puree, 1 yolk, 1 tablespoon of sour cream and honey.

If you need to get rid of wrinkles, it is recommended to take 1 yolk, 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil and 1 teaspoon of aloe juice. Previously, aloe leaves need to be kept in the refrigerator for 2 weeks.

Oily skin with enlarged pores will be saved by a mask of 2 tablespoons of cottage cheese, half a teaspoon of liquid honey and one egg.

To whiten the skin, it is recommended to mix half a cup of carrot juice, 1 teaspoon of potato starch and half of the raw egg yolk. The mask is applied to the skin for 30 minutes, then washed off in a contrasting way: alternately with cold and hot water.

  • Masks with vitamin D for hair and scalp

Most often, masks with an egg or only with a yolk are used for hair. For hair growth, use a mask consisting of 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 1 tablespoon of onion juice and 1 egg yolk. The mixture is applied to the head two hours before washing and left. It is recommended to carry out the procedure 1 time per week.

For dry hair, mix 2 egg yolks, 2 tablespoons of burdock oil and 1 teaspoon of calendula tincture.

For hair loss, the following recipe is suitable: 1 tablespoon of burdock oil, 1 egg yolk, 1 teaspoon of honey, 2 teaspoons of onion juice and 2 teaspoons of liquid soap. The mixture is applied to the hair 1-2 hours before washing and left. The second recipe for hair loss: 1 egg, 2 tablespoons of burdock oil, 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of honey. Hold for 15 minutes. And the third recipe: 1 tablespoon of sunflower oil and 1 yolk. Rinse after 40 minutes.

To get rid of dandruff and strengthen the roots, such a mask is used: 1 tablespoon of crushed plantain leaves, the same amount of burdock, 2 tablespoons of aloe juice and 1 egg yolk. 

For shine and strengthening of the hair, mix 1 tablespoon of honey, 1 tablespoon of castor oil, 1 yolk and 1 tablespoon of cognac.

When you need to restore dry and damaged hair, take 2 yolks, 1 tablespoon of hazelnut oil and a drop of lemon essential oil.

Summing up, it is worth saying that the article covered only part of the beneficial properties of vitamin D. Its study is still ongoing. Perhaps science will soon make new discoveries related to vitamin D and can improve human life and health.