How to maintain optimum healthand prevent disease
First, it’s important to realize that vitamin D is not “just a vitamin,” but rather theonly known substrate for a potent, pleiotropic (meaning it produces multipleeffects), repair and maintenance seco-steroid hormone that serves multiple gene-regulatory functions in your body.As Dr. Heaney so vividly explains here, each cell in your body has its own DNAlibrary that contains information needed to deal with virtually every kind of stimulus it may encounter, and
the master key to enter this library is activatedvitamin D
.For example, memory ductile cells in the breast need vitamin D to access DNAthat enables the response to estrogen.So naturally, without sufficient amounts of vitamin D, your cells cannot accesstheir DNA libraries and their functions are thereby impaired.This is why vitamin D functions in so many different tissues, and affects such alarge number of different diseases and health conditions. So far, scientists havefound about 3,000 genes that are upregulated by vitamin D.Receptors that respond to the vitamin have been found in almost every type of human cell, from your brain to your bones. And researchers keep finding health benefits from vitamin D in virtually every area they look.
Vitamin D Deficiency May RadicallyHamper Your Overall Health
Just one example of an important gene that vitamin D up-regulates is your abilitytofight infections, including the flu. It produces over 200 anti microbial peptides,the most important of which is cathelicidin, a naturally occurring broad-spectrumantibiotic.At least five studies show an inverse association between lower respiratory tractinfections and 25(OH)D levels. That is, the higher your vitamin D level, the lower your risk of contracting colds, flu, and other respiratory tract infections:1. A 2007 studysuggests higher vitamin D status enhances your immunity
to microbial infections. They found that subjects with vitamin Ddeficiency had significantly more days of absence from work due torespiratory infection than did control subjects.2. A 2009 studyon vitamin D deficiency in newborns with acute lower
respiratory infection (ALRI) confirmed a strong, positive correlation between newborns’ and mother’s vitamin D levels. Over 87 percent of allnewborns and over 67 percent of all mothers had vitamin D levels lower than 20 ng/ml, which is a severe deficiency state. Newborns with vitamin D deficiency appear to have an increased risk of