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Vitamin D Infographic

Why Vitamin D Might Be Our Most Important Nutrient


Why We Need Vitamin D Supplementation

It's somewhat well known that our bodies will synthesize vitamin D on their own when given adequate sunlight.  In a multistep process, our bodies use UVB rays from the sun to convert cholesterol (generally abundant in the body) intocholecalciferol, otherwise know as vitamin D3.  While technically possible, for practical purposes it's impossible to get enough UVB exposure to produce adequate levels of D3.  You would have to live in a tropical area and spend most of your days in the sun wearing little clothing.  If this is your life - congratulations - you can skip the rest of this article.  For the rest of us, we'll have to turn to D3 supplementation.  Where I live (SF Bay Area), the atmosphere filters out enough of the UVB that it is actually impossible to get adequate exposure, even if you were naked and outside every daylight hour.  Of course, most of us spend our days largely indoors, making the need for supplementation that much more pressing.

What Vitamin D Does In The Body

Once in the body, D3 is converted into calcitriol a hormone that regulates all of the body's processes involving calcium.  First, calcitriol is essential for calcium to be adequately absorbed from the gut.  Secondly, calcitriol is also the hormone responsible for regulating circulating calcium levels in the blood.  Finally, calcitriol interacts as a hormone with cells in all throughout the body, regulating their calcium uptake and usage.  

Calcium is primarily known for it's role in supporting bone health, but in reality calcium has a number of critical functions throughout the body.  Calcium and magnesium work in tandem in cells throughout the body, most notably in muscle contractions and neurotransmitter release.  Without proper calcium regulation, all of these functions are not executed optimally and well-being suffers.  

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