What is Vitamin D?
The “Sunshine Vitamin”
Vitamin D is known as a fat-soluble vitamin, but is actually a group of fat-soluble secosteroids of which two, ergocalciferol and cholecalciferol, are important for humans. In the human body cholecalciferol can be synthesized from cholesterol in sun-exposed skin, hence its nickname the “Sunshine Vitamin.” Ergocalciferol can only be synthesized from plant sterols (phytosterols), but is beneficial for humans in dietary and supplemental form, as is cholecalciferol. Cholecalciferol and Ergocalciferol are both converted in the liver to the vitamin D metabolites that are measured in serum to determine a person’s vitamin D status, 25 hydroxycholecalciferol and 25-hydroxyergocalciferol respectively; which in turn are precursors of the active forms of vitamin D.
What has it done for you lately?
Vitamin D enhances the intestinal absorption of the dietary minerals calcium, magnesium, phosphate, and zinc and therefore plays an important 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 has shown that vitamin D may play a role in normal cardiovascular function as well. See NOW®‘s wide array of vitamin D products available.