Nature's Life - Vitamin D-3 400 IU - 100 Softgels
Nature's Life Vitamin D-3 is an essential nutrient particularly important in skeletal development and bone mineralization. Nature's Life Vitamin D-3 400 IU is natural cholecalciferol from fish liver oil.
Features & Benefits:
- Intended to provide nutritive support for calcium and phosphorus absorption and utilization
- Essential for normal bone and teeth development
- Intended to provide nutritive support for normal immune function and cell growth
- Natural chole
Facts About Vitamin D
Vitamin D, also known as calciferol, is popularly referred to as the “sunshine vitamin.” Vitamin D can be synthesized in the body with appropriate exposure to the ultraviolet rays of the sun (a process called photobiogenesis). This process requires cholesterol, so the resulting fat-soluble vitamin form is known as “cholecalciferol.” The synthesized vitamin enters the bloodstream and makes its way to the liver, where it is converted to 25-hydroxycholecalciferol. From there, much of it goes to the kidneys for the final conversion to 1,25 dihydroxycholecaciferol.
In this final form, the body uses Vitamin D to help calcium absorption in the intestines, and to release calcium stores from the bones when necessary to maintain calcium blood levels.
Within the small intestine, Vitamin D helps calcium to be absorbed, rather than excreted, by activating a process in the mucous membranes that actively transports calcium to the blood. It similarly helps the absorption of phosphorus, another bone-building mineral. In the blood, Vitamin D either signals the kidneys to re-absorb calcium and phosphates as necessary, or causes the bones to release necessary amounts of calcium and phosphorus into the blood stream. With the help of parathyroid hormone (PTH), this homeostatic stabilizing process helps to maintain many body functions. If blood calcium is not kept stable, disturbances of nerve function can result in muscle twitching and spasms.
Several tissues, including immune system cells and the skin, pancreas, prostate, colon, adrenal glands, and brain appear able to activate 25-hydroxycholecalciferol for their own use. Since these tissues are not directly involved in calcium and bone metabolism, studies are now looking for additional roles for Vitamin D. The immune system is sensitive to Vitamin D levels and may not function normally if Vitamin D is insufficient. Cell differentiation is the process by which cells specialize to perform specific functions in different tissues. Loss of cell differentiation can lead to abnormal cell function, including uncontrolled cell growth. The presence of Vitamin D improves cell differentiation, inhibits the excessive proliferation of body cells, and promotes the proper development of cells to serve necessary biological roles. In this way, Vitamin D may help prevent abnormal cell growth. Insulin-producing cells are sensitive to Vitamin D levels, and adequate Vitamin D may be crucial to normal insulin function. Blood pressure is regulated with the help of an enzyme called renin, and the production of this enzyme is influenced by Vitamin D.
Two Forms of Vitamin D
Supplements of Vitamin D come in two forms: D2 and D3. Ergocalciferol (D2) is commercially produced from ergosterol found in plants or yeast. The more abundant natural Vitamin D3 is traditionally concentrated from fish liver oils. Recent reports discuss several studies that smaller amounts of D3 are needed to raise blood levels compared to D2, but those preferring a vegetarian source can compensate by using about 50% more of Vitamin D2.
Vitamin D Deficiency
Beginning in the 1920s, scientists correlated the absence of Vitamin D with the bone disease rickets. In children, a lack of Vitamin D causes the bones to be soft since the matrix of calcium and phosphorus does not form properly. In turn, this affects joints and muscles. Children with rickets have bowed legs, since their legs cannot support the weight of their body. They may also have a “barrel” chest due to an enlarged liver. While improved nutrition has since made this disease less common, cases are still being reported in both North America and Europe. In adults, an acute deficiency in Vitamin D causes osteomalacia (soft bones) from low calcium absorption and increased release of calcium from bones in order to maintain stable blood levels. Milder Vitamin D insufficiency over longer periods of time is more likely to result in osteoporosis.Typical diets often contain less than adequate levels of Vitamin D and most people do not spend adequate time in the sun, or eat enough Vitamin D rich food. Vitamin D deficiency is becoming more and more common. People that may become deficient in Vitamin D include those that live in Northern regions where sunlight is less effective in stimulating Vitamin D synthesis, or similarly in polluted or cloudy environments. People who cover much of their skin with clothing, spend little time outdoors, have high levels of pigment in their skin, or who use sunscreen regularly – in essence, limiting their exposure to the sun – are also at risk of Vitamin D deficiency. The growing population of overweight individuals appear to be at risk due to the trapping of Vitamin D inside fat cells where it is less available to the body. People with
liver, kidney, pancreas, or intestinal disorders may also suffer from a deficiency of Vitamin D. Seniors may have some trouble maintaining Vitamin D levels since most do not spend as much time in the sun, and their bodies’ ability to make and use Vitamin D is less efficient. Seasonal variations in sunlight can reduce synthesis of Vitamin D to minimal levels. In one study of 23 elderly people, levels of Vitamin D were normal in July, but fell by up to 65% the following February, and other studies support these findings. Low Vitamin D levels can result in brittle bones in the elderly, and most research has shown that Vitamin D supplements help elderly people maintain healthy bone density. Another effect of Vitamin D deficiency on the skeleton may be a swelling of the outer layers of the bone, which can result in aching pain. Recently, the vast majority of a group of people experiencing persistent aching pain were found to have low blood levels of Vitamin D. Another study reported relief when Vitamin D deficient individuals were given 2000 IU per day. Vitamin D deficiency may also affect muscle function and balance. It is thought that people with low blood levels of Vitamin D have weaker muscles and poorer ability to maintain balance. Combining Vitamin D with calcium improved people’s balance better than calcium alone in one study, and an analysis of several studies concluded that Vitamin D supplementation helps to reduce the risk of falling in the elderly by about 20%.
Daily Requirement and Optimum Intake of Vitamin D
The Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine has established an Adequate Intake level of 200 IU per day of Vitamin D for all ages up to 50 years, including pregnant and lactating women. Adults aged 51-70 are recommended to get at least 400 IU per day and above 70 years of age, 600 IU is recommended. However, many experts now believe these recommendations are too low. They suggest Vitamin D intakes of 1000 IU per day or more may be necessary for optimal health
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