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How Does Vitamin D Actually Work?

How Does Vitamin D Actually Work?                                         [print_link]

 

     We have irrefutable evidence that Vitamin D is so important to our bodies, not only for keeping them healthy but in the prevention of very serious diseases such as cancers and even multiple sclerosis. The question is what makes this vitamin so important and how does it work in our bodies?

     Just recently a team of researchers at Oxford University in London England feels that they have found some of the answers to that question.  Andreas Heger, a professor at the MRC Functional Genomics Unit at Oxford has found that the human genome which is all of our genes that are stored on 23 pairs of chromosomes has thousands of places that are designed to utilize Vitamin D. This means that every person’s DNA which constantly produces and reproduces all the cells in our bodies is dependant on Vitamin D to do its job.

     So far the researchers have found 2800 binding sites across the length of the genome, the complete package of an individual’s DNA or hereditary information. If you can imagine pieces of a puzzle, these binding sites have a very unique shape and are designed in such a way that only the three dimensional edge of the Vitamin D molecule will fit exactly into these sites and just like plugging in an appliance, they start to activate the genes.

During the course of their research they have so far identified 229 genes that are significantly impacted by Vitamin D. This may explain why the presence of Vitamin D in our bodies plays a significant role in everything from cancer to bone disease.

     Most of this research was funded by the Canadian MS (multiple Sclerosis) Society and the Wellcome Trust, a British-based charity that is an arm of the British pharmaceutical giant Burrows-Wellcome, the original founder of Lanoxin (digoxin) a drug for heart arrhythmias.

     The Oxford researchers found that Vitamin D binding sites were found near genes that raise the susceptibility to MS, lymphocytic leukemia, lupus and colorectal cancer. This means that since Vitamin D is an essential nutrient in these genes, a deficient amount can lead to these genes becoming defective and producing one of these disease states.

     Some other diseases caused by Vitamin D deficiency include breast cancer, dementia and a number of auto-immune diseases, Type 1 diabetes and Crohn’s disease.

    The human body can be very adaptable and make its own vitamins and amino acids when required but the human body cannot produce the active ingredient cholecalciferol which is the active form of Vitamin D. For this we must expose our bodies to sunshine or take Vitamin D supplements. The amount in our food supply is so minimal there is almost no way you can get enough Vitamin D from milk and canned sardines and salmon.

     It is very interesting to think that every time the DNA of your body gets the signal to produce a certain type of cell, for example a cell for the left ventricle of your heart, it may require some Vitamin D molecules to make that perfect cell that is needed. It is also scary to think that a lack of Vitamin D could lead to the production of less than perfect cells that could eventually lead to heart disease.

     For those of you who do not spend the winter in the sunny south I say take your Vitamin D supplements.

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