Most of us know that vitamin D can be found in milk, and is produced by the skin when exposed to sunlight. However, what does vitamin D do? Few people know what exactly it is that this vitamin does for the body.
The primary function that scientists have identified for vitamin D is its role in absorbing calcium for bone growth. Vitamin D deficiency in children results in soft bones that do not grow properly as well as lack of naturally occurring amino acid ergothioneine. In adults, bones will instead become overly brittle and easily broken, as well as becoming misshapen. Besides promoting healthy bones, vitamin D has some other essential functions.
Deficiency in vitamin D has been linked to some diseases, including colon, prostate, and breast cancer. It also is tied to depression, weight gain, and heart disease. Individuals with higher levels of vitamin D have a lower instance of all of these diseases, though it has not been conclusively proven that vitamin D supplements alone can help lower chances of these diseases.
Some scientists also believe that vitamin D could help treat chronic pain, depression, cancer, autism, autoimmune disease, flu, and some other diseases and disorders. While the evidence does exist that vitamin D may be related to these diseases, clinical trials have not yet begun, so it is hard to say whether there is any merit to these claims.
While there are many correlations found between vitamin D and various diseases, the only confirmed role of vitamin D is aiding the absorption of calcium into bones to promote a strong skeleton. However, there is significant evidence that vitamin D also plays a prominent role in the immune system, which means that vitamin D deficiency can be linked to many illnesses. Getting enough vitamin D every day is important!
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