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Vitamin D. Medline Plus Web site. Accessed December 4, Barclay L.

What does vitamin D do?

Management of vitamin d deficiency reviewed. Medscape Web site. The importance of vitamin D. Nature Made Web site. Accessed December 5, Recognition and management of vitamin D deficiency. Am Fam Physician. Dietary supplement fact sheet: vitamin d. Vitamin D supplementation. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site. American Academy of Dermatology issues updated position statement on vitamin D.

Position statement on vitamin D. American Academy of Dermatology Web site. Moyad MA.

Vitamin D For Dummies

Vitamin D: a rapid review. Vitamin D for treatment and prevention of infectious diseases: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. Endocr Pract.

Mayo Clinic Minute: How much vitamin D do you need?

High-dose vitamin D supplement may reduce risk of falling among older people. Vitamin D deficiency in older men. J Clin Endocrinol Metab.

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However, natural diets typically do not contain adequate quantities of vitamin D, and exposure to sunlight or consumption of foodstuffs purposefully supplemented with vitamin D are necessary to prevent deficiencies. Vitamin D, as either D 3 or D 2 , does not have significant biological activity. Rather, it must be metabolized within the body to the hormonally-active form known as 1,dihydroxycholecalciferol. This transformation occurs in two steps, as depicted in the diagram to the right:.

Vitamin D recommendations for infants: information for health professionals

Each of the forms of vitamin D is hydrophobic, and is transported in blood bound to carrier proteins. The major carrier is called, appropriately, vitamin D-binding protein. The halflife of hydroxycholecalciferol is several weeks, while that of 1,dihydroxycholecalciferol is only a few hours.

Hepatic synthesis of hydroxycholecalciferol is only loosely regulated, and blood levels of this molecule largely reflect the amount of amount of vitamin D produced in the skin or ingested. In contrast, the activity of 1-alpha-hydroxylase in the kidney is tightly regulated and serves as the major control point in production of the active hormone.

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The major inducer of 1-alpha-hydroxylase is parathyroid hormone ; it is also induced by low blood levels of phosphate. Interesting species differences exist in the ability to synthesize vitamin D through the sunlight-mediated pathway described above. The skin of humans, horses, pigs, rats, cattle and sheep contain adequate quantities of 7-dehydrocholesterol which can effectively be converted to cholecalciferol.

Vitamin D For Dummies by Alan L. Rubin

In contrast, the skin of dogs and cats constains significantly lower quantities of 7-dehydrocholesterol than other species, and its photochemical conversion to cholecalciferol is quite inefficient; dogs and cats thus appear to rely on dietary intake of vitamin D more than do other animals. The active form of vitamin D binds to intracellular receptors that then function as transcription factors to modulate gene expression.

Vitamin D For Dummies

Like the receptors for other steroid hormones and thyroid hormones , the vitamin D receptor has hormone-binding and DNA-binding domains. The vitamin D receptor forms a complex with another intracellular receptor, the retinoid-X receptor, and that heterodimer is what binds to DNA. In most cases studied, the effect is to activate transcription, but situations are also known in which vitamin D suppresses transcription. The vitamin D receptor binds several forms of cholecalciferol. Its affinity for 1,dihydroxycholecalciferol is roughly times that for hydroxycholecalciferol, which explains their relative biological potencies. Vitamin D is well known as a hormone involved in mineral metabolism and bone growth.

You simply need to have the right dose usually in the form of a gel capsule , pop it into your mouth, and swallow it with a little water. No advantage is gained by taking a vitamin D supplement several times daily over taking one capsule once a day. A study at the Cleveland Clinic showed that if you take your vitamin D with the biggest meal each day, you can increase the level of vitamin D in the blood by an average of 50 percent.