Breaking news in vitamin world: a vital hormone has been mistakenly known and referred to as a vitamin for years! It has been receiving huge claim in recent years as more and more studies point to its necessity in the prevention and treatment of many of today’s chronic diseases including cancer! This vital hormone is no other than the Sunshine Vitamin (Vitamin D3) from here on justifiably referred to as its much deserved accurate name: CHOLECALCIFEROL.
No one article can do Cholecalciferol its due justice however, here’s an attempt at outlining the basics known thus far of this essential hormone naturally provided to us through the suns’ warming rays:
- Of no surprise to most, low blood vitamin D levels are associated with rickets, falls, and low bone mineral density, whereas supplementation with vitamin D and calcium improves bone mineral density, as well as decreases the risk of falls and fractures (1).
- Low blood levels of vitamin D are associated with increased mortality(2). Supplemental vitamin D3 appears to decrease all cause mortality, with the best evidence of a benefit in elderly women. Other forms of the vitamin (D2, etc.) do not appear to be of any benefit. Also deficiency levels of vitamin D appear to cause abnormal functioning and premature aging(3).
- Low vitamin D levels are associated with some cancers. From breast to prostate, to colorectal to brain cancers, and even basal cell carcinoma (skin cancer), Cholecalciferol has been shown to arrest the growth and death of tumour cells (4).
- Cholecalciferol has been shown to have immune modulating effects in conditions such as mutliple sclerosis.
- Countries in the northern hemisphere where there is limited exposure to the sun and hence low blood cholecalciferol have a higher prevalance of infectious outbreaks.
Seasonal Affective Disorder
- Also known as SAD, is a mood disorder occuring in the winter months for which exposure to natural sunlight and supplementation with Cholecalciferol have been shown to improve the associated symptoms (depression, low energy, carbohydrate cravings, etc.).
Cholecalciferol is a vast topic to summarize in one article and hence there’s much more to come. Future blogs will cover the specifics of the above mentioned benefits, safe supplementation including the harmful versus beneficial FORMS of the vitamin, as well as the controversy surrounding sun exposure and skin cancer versus the beneficial effects of the sun, and more…
And don’t forget, the thus far known “sunshine vitamin” is a lot more than just a vitamin. It is in reality a hormone known as CHOLECALCIFEROL ;)
1. Cranney, A; Horsley, T, O’Donnell, S, Weiler, H, Puil, L, Ooi, D, Atkinson, S, Ward, L, Moher, D, Hanley, D, Fang, M, Yazdi, F, Garritty, C, Sampson, M, Barrowman, N, Tsertsvadze, A, Mamaladze, V (2007 Aug). “Effectiveness and safety of vitamin D in relation to bone health.”. Evidence report/technology assessment(158): 1–235.
2. Zittermann, A; Gummert, JF, Börgermann, J (2009 Nov). “Vitamin D deficiency and mortality.”. Current opinion in clinical nutrition and metabolic care 12 (6): 634–9.
3. Walter F., PhD. Boron (2003). “The Parathyroid Glands and Vitamin F”. Medical Physiology: A Cellular And Molecular Approaoch. Elsevier/Saunders. p. 1094.
4. Fleet JC, Desmet M, Johnson R, Li Y. (2012). Vitamin D and cancer: a review of molecular mechanisms. Biochem J. 2012 Jan 1;441(1):61-76.