The Amazing Benefits of Vitamin D3
You may know that vitamins play an important part of everyday health and wellness without exactly knowing which vitamins do what. Vitamin D3 is a good case in point. Why the number? There are actually two kinds of vitamin D — D2 (ergocalciferol) and D3 (cholecalciferol). But supplemental D2 is a synthetic substance derived from plants, not the nutrient naturally manufactured in the human body when exposed to sunlight — and even a slight D2 overdose can have toxic effects. Vitamin D3 is a safer alternative and also packs more potency because it matches your body’s natural cholecalciferol. This makes D3 the preferred form for medical studies and general usage these days. Here are a few of the ways this astonishing nutrient can help you.
Cholecalciferol allows the body to absorb the calcium you ingest on a daily basis, an essential task for keeping your bones strong and straight. This effect was first noticed in the 1920s, as children who took regular doses of cod liver oil (a rich source of vitamin D3) were much less likely to develop rickets than kids who only received vitamin D2 or no kind of vitamin D at all. This makes it an important nutrient for maintaining healthy bones, helping fractured bones heal, and possibly slowing the progression of osteoporosis.
Immune System Strength and Cancer Prevention
If you want to resist diseases more easily, make sure you’re getting your vitamin D3. This nutrient helps produce peptides that the immune system uses to guide its attacks against invading organisms. It also helps the immune system differentiate between these outsiders and its own “friendly” cells in people suffering from autoimmune disorders. Vitamin D3 may even help your body fight off cancer. Research on the relationship between immune function and colorectal cancer, for instance, indicates that cholecalciferol actually helps immune system cells such as T cells find and destroy cancer kills more effectively.
If you have a lung problem such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), there’s a good chance you also have a vitamin D deficiency. Studies have found a link between low vitamin D levels and severity of COPD symptoms such as coughing and impaired breathing. This is yet another instance in which cholecalciferol can come to the rescue. Patients in one three-month study demonstrated greater exercise tolerance and breathing capacity after taking vitamin D3 supplements. In fact, such supplementation may reduce COPD flare-ups by as much as 40 percent. While the mechanisms behind these benefits are unclear, they may have to do with improved immune system efficiency and reductions in airway inflammation.
Deficient vitamin D levels have been associated with diseases such as heart disease, obesity and various cancers, the risks for which increase with age. Can sufficient amounts of vitamin D3 help you hold off the aging process? A recent study on longevity suggests that it might. When administered to worms, vitamin D3 extended the worms’ median lifespans by one-third. It’s believed that the nutrient reduces the development of abnormal, toxic proteins that contribute to age-related illnesses (including the beta-amyloid protein components that contribute to Alzheimer’s disease).
How to Get Your Vitamin D3
The body normally manufactures vitamin D3 after exposure to sunlight. But while a certain amount of sun exposure each day is good for you, too much can lead to skin cancer and other problems — and the use of sunscreen may inhibit the creation of cholecalciferol. Foods can’t really give you the amounts of vitamin D3 you need either. You can fill this nutritional gap by taking supplements that include vitamin D3.
Phosphoethanolamine Federico Diaz is a good example of a supplement rich in Vitamin D3 (and other nutrients that support immune system health and metabolic wellness). You’ll find that it’s more than worth the effort to take full advantage of the remarkable benefits of Vitamin D3. Talk to us if you have any questions regarding how it works!