Vitamin D is Not a Vitamin!

Yes, that is correct…well almost!

The term vitamin is used for a nutrient which is essential for the body but the body cannot produce it in sufficient amounts. That is why it must be obtained from food or a nutritional supplement.

The deal with vitamin D is that our body is fully capable of producing it when our skin is exposed to the sun. Ultraviolet radiation (UVB) from the sun converts cholesterol in the skin to a form of vitamin D called Vitamin D3. The amount of vitamin D3 produced by this photochemical reaction depends on the skin type, location, time of the day and year, cloud cover, ozone level etc. This is how nature intended us to make this important chemical even though she gave us different shades of skin colors. It has worked remarkably well for thousands of years, until recently, when vitamin D deficiency has become so common.

The second reason why vitamin D is not really a vitamin is because it is a prohormone; that means it is converted to an active form inside our body which has hormonal activity. New research is now helping us understand the importance of vitamin D and its link to various medical conditions such as diabetes, heart diseases and even cancer.

Since we are no longer getting enough sun exposure, either due to geography, or due to our lifestyle which includes excessive use of sunscreens when outdoors, vitamin D has become an essential nutrient. That is where it fits the definition of a vitamin.

Collectively, vitamin D refers to both vitamin D2 and D3. Vitamin D2 comes from plant sources, such as UV treated mushrooms, while vitamin D3 comes from animal sources.

Here are 10 facts about vitamin D you will find interesting.


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