Vitamin D is known as the ‘sunshine’ vitamin.
This fat soluble, antioxidant vitamin can be synthesized by the action of sunlight on the skin and obtained from foods derived from animals. It sends signals to three primary target sites of the body: the gastrointestinal tract (GI) to absorb more calcium and phosphorus, the bones to release more and the kidneys to retain more. These three actions maintain blood calcium concentrations to support bone formation. It has properties of both a vitamin and a hormone that is necessary for normal growth and development especially bones and teeth in children.
Vitamin D protects against muscle weakness, involved in regulation of the heartbeat, prevention and treatment of some cancers, enhances immunity, and essential for the protection of osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, hypocalcaemia (high blood calcium), healthy thyroid function, healthy skin, nerves and normal blood clotting.
With the ageing process serum Vitamin D may reduce by 50%, they are at risk of deficiency as the skin, liver and kidneys lose their capacity to make and activate Vitamin D with advancing age.
Lifestyle choices of working and being indoors for much of the day away from natural sunlight are other factors that may increase the likelihood of being deficient of Vitamin D and the consequences are increased risk of bone loss and fractures.
Rickets, arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoporosis, juvenile arthritis, Lyme’s disease arthritis, neuromuscular irritability, atherosclerosis, hypertension, preeclampsia, heart attack, stroke, cerebral palsy, hypoparathyroidism, ulcerative colitis, coeliac disease, Crohn’s disease, pregnancy, lactation, cancer, bone fractures, neuromuscular irritability, psoriasis, AIDS, diabetic neuropathy, fatigue, insulin resistance, obesity, fatty liver, athletic performance, age related macular degeneration, muscle pain and weakness, backache, Alzheimer's.
Antagonists: Unstable to light, mineral oil and suntan oils, sunscreens, ageing, obesity, pregnancy, pharmaceutical antacids.