I’m sure it’s not the first time you’ve heard: “Vitamin D3 is essential for the immune system and for keeping bones strong”. This is true, but its properties go far beyond that. Vitamin D plays a key role in many bodily functions.
In this article, we will explain what vitamin d3 is and what it is used for. We will discuss how it can benefit your health, what its main properties are and what factors influence a vitamin d3 deficiency.
What is vitamin D3 and what is it for?
Vitamin D3, known as cholecalciferol, is a fat-soluble vitamin that is not active in the body, which means that it needs to be synthesised through direct sun exposure.
To ensure adequate levels of this vitamin, it can be obtained from certain foods, and supplements or produced naturally through exposure to sunlight.
Vitamin D has several important health functions. One of the best-known and most necessary is to regulate the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, as well as to facilitate the normal functioning of the immune system.
Sufficient levels of this vitamin are essential for the growth and development of bones and teeth, as well as for improving resistance to certain diseases.
Properties and benefits of vitamin D3
- Strong bones and muscles: vitamin D is necessary for bone and joint health because it helps to absorb calcium. It prevents the onset of diseases such as osteopenia and osteoporosis.
- Strengthens the immune system: numerous studies show the benefits of vitamin D for the immune system. Deficient levels increase the risk of infections and autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.
- Reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease: low levels are associated with increased risk of heart disease such as stroke and hypertension.
- Helps to reduce inflammation: this vitamin has powerful properties anti-inflammatory properties. It helps reduce pro-inflammatory mediators and increases anti-inflammatory cytokines.
- Strengthens oral health: insufficient levels of this vitamin can affect tooth enamel and gum health, as well as cause gingivitis and periodontal disease. In children, it can also affect dental development and increase dental weakness.
- Reduces the risk of fractures: from a biochemical perspective, vitamin D appears to be involved in all phases of the process of fracture healing and prevention thanks to its ability to mobilise calcium.
- Supports lung function and a healthy nervous system: it has a positive impact on lung structure, respiratory muscle strength and immune response to respiratory pathogens. In addition, its effects on the nervous system (neurotransmission, neuroplasticity, neuroprotection, etc.) have been demonstrated.
- Promotes healthy hair growth: Adequate levels are essential for healthy hair growth, supporting the maintenance of hair follicles.
- May help prevent some types of cancer: several studies link high levels of 25-hydroxy-vitamin D to a lower risk of cancers such as breast, prostate and colon cancer, among others.
- Helps improve brain function and prevent dementia: it helps protect the brain against the accumulation of tau (a protein involved in the development of dementia) and amyloid (present in Alzheimer’s disease).
- Helps lower high blood pressure: a study shows that oral vitamin D can reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels in patients with hypertension.
- Aids weight loss: it can increase serotonin and testosterone levels, which are very important in increasing metabolism, helping to burn more calories, control appetite and increase satiety.
- Improves mood: reduces the risk of depression and regulates mood. One study showed that people experiencing negative emotions who took vitamin D supplementation experienced an improvement in symptoms.
- Contributes to the improvement of rheumatoid arthritis: helps to reduce symptoms and inflammatory response in people with rheumatoid arthritis and related chronic diseases.
- Reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes: Vitamin D supplementation improves insulin sensitivity associated with the development of type 2 diabetes.
What happens if you lack vitamin D3?
Depending on the level of deficiency, a deficiency of this vitamin causes a decrease in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus by the intestines, which leads to a weakening of bones and tissues. In these cases, only 10-15% of calcium and 60% of phosphorus can be absorbed from the food ingested.
In addition, it can cause symptoms such as muscle cramps, weakness, depression and fatigue.
When we do not have enough vitamin D, the body takes calcium from the bones, leading to accelerated bone demineralisation, which occurs when bone is broken down at a faster rate than it can reform. This can lead to osteomalacia and osteoporosis, which will increase the risk of bone fractures.
What factors influence vitamin D deficiency?
When levels are below 30ng/mL, vitamin D is considered insufficient. These are the main factors that may have an influence:
- Skin colour: the darker the skin, the lower the body’s ability to absorb UVB rays.
- Lack of sun exposure: in these cases, it is important to take vitamin D from the diet and in the form of supplements.
- Breastfeeding: 400 International Units (IU) per day of oral vitamin D is recommended for breastfed infants.
- Older adults: advanced age decreases the skin’s ability to synthesise the vitamin.
- People with conditions that limit fat absorption: intake of the fat-soluble vitamin depends on the intestine absorbing fats taken in through the diet.
- Obesity: high levels of body fat can decrease the skin’s ability to absorb vitamin D.
- Gastric bypass: may cause a deficit, as it reduces part of the intestine.
Vitamin D3: a key building block for health
Vitamin D3 is an essential nutrient for health. It helps to absorb calcium, one of the main building blocks for strong bones, and prevents bone diseases such as osteoporosis. It is also necessary for muscles.
In the event of a vitamin D3 deficiency, in addition to remedying it through diet or proper exposure to the sun, we can also opt to take supplements. Orgono Articomplex, for example, is a supplement made up of magnesium, zinc, vitamin C, organic silica and vitamin D3. The nervous system needs this vitamin to carry messages between the brain and the rest of the body, and the immune system needs it to fight bacteria and viruses and prevent disease.