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Vitamin D3 as a Treatment for Disease

Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol) is one among the five types of vitamin D. It is secosteroid; a molecule of steroid with an open ring. It is inactive, and is activated with the help of hydroxylations: one in the kidney and the other in the liver, and forms calcitriol, which is activated through a receptor of vitamin D. The receptor is nuclear; it controls the level of synthesis of many enzymes. It is in almost all the body cells.

Vitamin D is significant in countless body functions such as bone health and calcium metabolism. However, researchers have recently been looking for its effects on other tissues, mostly the immune cells. It has been found that the receptors (VDRs) are found in the nucleus of each immune cell, even the antigen-presenters, natural killers, and T and B lymphocytes. Lack of this vitamin has been said to cause such autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, diabetes mellitus(type 1), and SLE (systemic lupus erythematosus).

Vitamin D3 supplements help in osteoporosis treatment and health enhancement. It also treats conditions caused by low vitamin D3, like slow parathyroid glands, low blood phosphate levels, or genetic conditions where the body resists parathyroid hormones. Vitamin D3 enhances phosphate recycling to blood by the kidneys, hence maintaining the blood pH. It is also very effective in treating a range of skin conditions and revitalizing the look and feel of the skin. The supplements can be bought over-the-counter.

Lack of Vitamin D3

Vitamin D3 shortage has for long been said to cause rickets, which is common among children. Affected children and adults who previously had the disease are mostly bow-legged. However, adults with low vitamin D3 may not develop rickets, but they have softer bones, or osteomalacia. Those who have digestive problems such as celiac disease, Crohn's disease or liver problems are more prone vitamin D3 shortage.

Sunlight provides vitamin D3, and those who are often indoors, such as bedridden patients are also prone to deficiency.

In addition, darker people need more sunlight to maintain healthy vitamin D3 levels, since the more the melanin, the slower the absorption of Vitamin D3. Some research show that the level of vitamin absorbed is determined by the time you receive sunlight.

Absorption is high between 10am and 3pm, according to certain studies. However, there are studies that show that basking at this time may increase your vulnerability to skin cancer.

Vitamin D3 as Acne Treatment

There are arguments on whether vitamin D3 is really a remedy for acne. The website of the Council of Vitamin D indicates that acne can be caused by lack of exposure to sunlight. Some people have worse acne during winter, and it improves during summer. There is clinical research that proves that vitamin D3 treats acne. There is also evidence to support that notion. Additionally, there are anecdotal reports which claim that one can treat acne using the vitamin supplements or by applying it as oil.

Vitamin D3 and Weight

Recent research states that overweight people have higher levels of the vitamin. This could be due to the oily nature of vitamin D, as it is stored the fat tissue. Therefore, more fat enables you to store more vitamin D. Underweight people may have less vitamin D since they do not have enough fat to store the vitamin.

The Distinction between Vitamin D3 and Vitamin D2

 Vitamin D2 is in two forms: Vitamin D2, (ergocalciferol), is found commonly in foods.

Vitamin D3 on the other hand, is made naturally in the body after exposure of the skin to sunlight.

There are many arguments, but most experts state that Vitamin D3 is the best type of Vitamin D supplement that one can take. It is seen as the easier and more natural vitamin to be absorbed by the body. In addition, Vitamin D3 cannot be as highly concentrated in the blood as Vitamin D2, hence it is safer to absorb.

Foods Rich in Vitamin D

Oily fish such as blue fish, mackerel, salmon and codfish are among the best natural vitamin D sources.

Fortified foods like cereal and milk, along with uncooked shiitake mushroom and egg yolks are also good vitamin D sources.

Some Cautions about Vitamin D3 

You should consult your doctor before taking the vitamin if you:

• Are on acid sequestrates of the bile such as colesevelam (Welchol), Colestipol (colestid), Prevalite (cholestyramine) or Locholest

• Are on the drug for weight-loss Xenical (orlistat) or Alli

 Vitamin D3 and Pregnancy

It is not clear whether vitamin D3 supplements are beneficial to the fetus. You should consult your doctor before you get pregnant, or if you already are pregnant; if you intend to take the vitamin. You also need to inform your doctor if you intend to breastfeed, or if you already are. Vitamin D3 is not fit for use by breastfeeding mothers as it is absorbed in the breast milk.

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