Vitamin D: More Than Healthy Bones
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, sometimes known as the sunshine vitamin because the ultraviolet rays from the sun initiate its production in the skin. Vitamin D is a type of prohormone that is produced when cholesterol in the skin is exposed to the UV rays from the sun. Further processing in the liver and kidneys is an important step in the production of the active form of vitamin D called calcitriol. The two different types of vitamin D are D2 (ergocalciferol) present in plant-based products such as mushrooms, and D3 (cholecalciferol) present in animal products and fatty fish. Vitamin D3 is found to be twice as effective as D2 in raising the blood levels of vitamin D.
More than half of the US population including infants, young women, and older adults is deficient in this essential vitamin. 75-80% of people with dark skin are consistently deficient in vitamin D because of higher melanin content in the skin which blocks the UV rays. Additionally, excessive use of sunscreen especially with a higher SPF, cloudy weather, and air pollution are some of the factors affecting vitamin D production in the skin. A low fat diet and diseases of the digestive system, liver, and kidneys are secondary factors contributing to the deficiency of vitamin D.
Although it is required for many critical functions in the body, vitamin D is commonly associated only with healthy bones, as it promotes calcium absorption from the digestive system and maintains an optimum calcium to phosphorus ratio. However, vitamin D has many other health benefits that include reduction of inflammation, healthy immune response, improved cognitive functions, healthy glucose metabolism, protection against metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular diseases and certain cancers such as breast, colorectal, pancreatic and prostate cancers.
The researchers at the Dr. Rath Research Institute have conducted multiple studies to prove the benefits of vitamin D3. In one of those studies we tested the anticancer effects of vitamin D alone and in combination with the other group of synergistic nutrients on breast cancer cells 1. When tested alone, vitamin D inhibited the cancer cell growth. Vitamin D combined with green tea extract only and a specific nutrient mixture (NM), showed that vitamin D with the green tea extract inhibited the growth of breast cancer cells by 62%, however, its combination with other specific nutrients had a significantly more pronounced effect on inhibition of growth of cancer cells. With incremental increased doses of the NM, and keeping the dose of vitamin D constant, the growth of breast cancer cells was inhibited up to 94%.
In another study the cardiovascular effects of vitamin D3 alone, and in combination with vitamin C, were tested on the deposition of collagen and other proteins by human aortic smooth muscle cells 2. The results indicate that vitamin D3 increased the deposition of collagen molecules indicating stronger blood vessel walls thereby reducing the possibility of atherosclerosis. Another study confirmed the synergistic interaction between vitamin D3 and vitamin C. It showed that this combination could reduce many of the events leading to atherosclerosis, and these results could be achieved at its lower dose than when vitamins D3 and C are taken individually 3.
To evaluate the antibacterial effects of vitamin D3 we studied the efficacy of vitamin D3 and vitamin C along with a commonly used antibiotic, doxycycline, on the bacteria causing Lyme disease. The results showed that doxycycline in combination with vitamin D3 and vitamin C had significant antibacterial actions on the Borrelia species and reduced its active and dormant forms 4.
Our studies prove multifaceted actions of vitamin D3 and that its health benefits go beyond just healthy bones. Take your Vitamin D3 daily for optimum health!
1. V Ivanov et el., J CM & NH, June 2019
2. V Ivanov et el., J CM & NH, Sept 2019
3. V Ivanov et el., J CM & NH, June 2019
4. Goc A et al. Presented at: ASM Microbe, Boston, MA June 2016;