Vitamin D, often called The "Sun vitamin," is extremely important for our bodies, particularly our bones and overall health. Our skin, the largest organ in the body, plays a special role in the production of vitamin D.
Vitamin D helps our bodies absorb calcium, which is the main element of our bones. Without enough vitamin D, our bones are weak and fragile. But what is really interesting and unknown to most is the mechanism of vitamin D production.
The first function is to convert ultraviolet B (UVB) to 7-dehydrocholesterol (7-DHC). The second function is the conversion of 7-dehydrocholesterol to cholecalciferol, which is another name for vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 then ends up in our liver and kidneys, where a final upgrade to active vitamin D takes place, called calcitriol. This powerful vitamin D helps our bodies process calcium better to keep our bones healthy.
Vitamin D production is not the same for all people and all ages. In cases of low sunshine, such as in winter or away from the equator, the skin does not receive the sunlight it needs to produce vitamin D.
People with dark skin color possess a greater amount of melanin which is a natural sunscreen. While melanin is excellent for protecting against sun exposure, it interferes with the skin's production of vitamin D.
As we age, our skin does not cooperate with sunlight. Thus, adults and the elderly may need extra attention to vitamin D levels.
Our skin is like a cloak that works with the sun to create vitamin D. Vitamin D is not only important for our bones, but is a major factor in our immune system. So, remember to have adequate sun exposure and eat foods with vitamin D to keep your body and bones strong and healthy. Our skin, the largest organ in the body, has a fantastic hidden talent, and it is our responsibility to make the most of it!