Mechanisms underlying the actions of vitamin D
Dr. Christine Gonzalez from Los Angeles, California, has written a thorough review of vitamin D.
Let’s focus on the actions of vitamin D thought to contribute to disease prevention.
Vitamin D effects
o Decreases spread of cells (proliferation) and increases cell differentiation
o Stops the growth of new blood vessels
o Significant anti-inflammatory effects
o Studies suggest a link between low vitamin D levels and an increased risk of cancer, with the strongest evidence for colorectal cancer.
* Heart disease
o Evidence that the protective effect of vitamin D on the heart could be via the renin-angiotensin hormone system, through the suppression of inflammation, or directly on the cells of the heart and blood-vessel walls.
* Fractures and falls
o Vitamin D helps body absorb calcium.
o Vitamin D receptors are located on the fast-twitch muscle fibers, which are the first to respond in a fall.
o It’s theorized that vitamin D may increase muscle strength, thereby preventing falls.
* Autoimmune diseases and influenza
o Vitamin D has a role in regulating the immune system and a strong anti-inflammatory effect.
o It’s theorized that vitamin D deficiency could contribute to autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and autoimmune thyroid disease.
The bottom line?
In the past few years, study after study has supported the importance of vitamin D in preventing and managing medical conditions, and the risks associated with inadequate blood levels.
Dr. Gonzalez concludes, “As the number of people with vitamin D deficiency continues to increase, the importance of this hormone in overall health and the prevention of chronic diseases is at the forefront of research.