Outside of whole complex vitamin c, vitamin d is the most important and health-altering nutrient a human being can get in their body. Vitamin d is not a vitamin but it’s actually a hormone that is synthesized by 7-dehydrocholesterol in the skin absorbing Ultraviolet B radiation from the sun and is converted to pre vitamin D3. Pre vitamin D3 then is metabolized into 25-hydroxyvitamin D, its main circulating form within the liver then is finally converted into 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D in the kidneys. Sun-induced vitamin D synthesis is greatly influenced by season, time of day, latitude, altitude, air pollution, skin pigmentation, sunscreen use, passing through glass and plastic, and aging.
In the Research article ” Sunlight and Vitamin D“, it states –
Most cells and organs in the body have a vitamin D receptor and many cells and organs are able to produce 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D. As a result 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D influences a large number of biologic pathways which may help explain association studies relating vitamin D deficiency and living at higher latitudes with increased risk for many chronic diseases including autoimmune diseases, some cancers, cardiovascular disease, infectious disease, schizophrenia and type 2 diabetes. A three-part strategy of increasing food fortification programs with vitamin D, sensible sun exposure recommendations and encouraging ingestion of a vitamin D supplement when needed should be implemented to prevent global vitamin D deficiency and its negative health consequences.
We are all, or we should be familiar with the fact that vitamin D3 prevents rickets and the body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. If you analyze this graph below, it elucidates that if we maintain at least 56 ng/ml serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels, we can eliminate many diseases.
But even more intriguing is that vitamin d in its active 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D form regulates our genes. The active form of vitamin d will actually turn off genes that make us prone to developing varying diseases while turning on genes that are beneficial to our health, especially our immune system.
Our data suggest that any improvement in vitamin D status will significantly affect expression of genes that have a wide variety of biologic functions of more than 160 pathways linked to cancer, autoimmune disorders and cardiovascular disease with have been associated with vitamin D deficiency. This study reveals for the first time molecular finger prints that help explain the nonskeletal health benefits of vitamin D.
vitamin D has direct effects on the epigenome and the expression of more than 1000 genes in most human tissues and cell types.
Conclusions: The pleiotropic action of vitamin D in health and disease prevention is explained through complex gene regulatory events of the transcription factor VDR.
In the “Disassociation of Vitamin D’s Calcemic Activity and Non-calcemic Genomic Activity and Individual Responsiveness: A Randomized Controlled Double-Blind Clinical Trial” it incredibly states –
vitamin D supplementation caused at least a 1.5 fold change in the expression of 291 genes that are involved in apoptosis, immune function, transcriptional regulation, epigenetic modification, response to stress, cell cycle activity and differentiation (Table 3). This finding is consistent with previous in vitro studies that showed 1,25(OH)2D3 directly or indirectly controlled more than 200 genes, including genes responsible for the regulation of cellular proliferation, differentiation, angiogenesis and immunomodulatory activities on both innate and adaptive immune responses ,,. Our observations support previous reports that have estimated that VDR activation may regulate directly and/or indirectly the expression of a very large number of genes (0.5–5% of the total human genome i.e., 100–1250 genes) ,,,,.
In a recent genome-wide microarray analysis of 1,25(OH)2D3-treated human osteoblasts revealed modulation of 158 genes involved in vitamin D metabolism (CYP24A1), immune function (CD14), neurotransmitter transporters (SLC1A1, SLC22A3), and coagulation . A study of the human genome screened for VDREs reported 157 genes to be regulated in SCC- 25 cells, of which 126 were induced and 31 were repressed . The researchers found 2,776 binding sites for the vitamin D receptor along the length of the genome. Among them included 229 genes associated with susceptibility to autoimmune disorders, and cancers including chronic lymphocytic leukemia and colorectal cancer . All of these studies reporting the effect of 1,25(OH)2D3 on gene expression were in vitro studies in different cell types.
Getting the correct levels of vitamin d, way more than the 400IU’s a day is integral to human health, especially if you have a darker complexion. Darker-skinned people living in the more temperate latitudes have a much harder time synthesizing vitamin d through their skin due to the melanin content which acts as a natural skin block.
To successfully convert vitamin d to its active form you need to have optimal serum magnesium levels and a healthy liver & kidney.
See my article “Heal the liver with milk thistle“.
See my article “How to reverse kidney disease“.
See my article “Magnesium the miracle mineral“.
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