More About Vitamin D
The sunshine vitamin
Vitamin D is referred to as a fat-soluble vitamin, but this nutrient is actually a group of fat-soluble secosteroids, which are natural substances similar to steroids but with a particular structural difference. Two of these secosteroids, cholecalciferol (vitamin D-3) and ergocalciferol (vitamin D-2), are important for our health.
There aren’t a lot of foods high in vitamin D. Our primary source of natural vitamin D, cholecalciferol, is actually synthesized by our bodies from cholesterol in sun-exposed skin, earning it the nickname “The Sunshine Vitamin”. Some dietary sources of vitamin D-3 are fatty fish and egg yolks. The other relevant form of vitamin D, ergocalciferol, is found primarily in fungus, lichen and a few plants such as alfalfa. Both forms are beneficial for human health.
Vitamin D’s benefits
Vitamin D enhances intestinal absorption and metabolism of the dietary minerals calcium, magnesium, phosphate and zinc, and therefore plays a crucial role in skeletal health. Low levels of vitamin D have been associated with low bone mineral density.
Vitamin D also supports healthy immune system function, and recent research shows that it may play a role in normal cardiovascular function as well.
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