Vitamin D has been in the spotlight for more than a decade now, as a potential threat to our health. In a report published by the ISCD in 2012,
Since vitamin D plays a role in cell growth, skeletal health, immune function, and the inflammatory process, a vitamin D deficiency can have a devastating impact on your overall health.
Vitamin D is a building block your body needs to be able to produce calcitriol. Calcitriol is a biological hormone that supports a number of different functions in your body. Your body needs vitamin D to:
Your body is light-sensitive. You need exposure to bright sunlight to activate vitamin D production, and you need to sleep in a pitch-dark room to activate the production of other compounds like melatonin.
Although scientists have yet to discover the exact relationship between vitamin D and depression, studies link low levels of vitamin D to increased risks of developing depression.
Low levels of vitamin D can have serious consequences for mental health. One study found a very strong relationship between low levels of vitamin D and schizophrenia.
Scientists have found that vitamin D acts on portions of the brain that have been linked to depression. The brain also contains vitamin D receptors that may shed light on how vitamin D supports brain health and, therefore, supports mood.
One theory on why vitamin D deficiencies often increase depression is that vitamin D affects the levels of certain chemicals in the brain, like serotonin. Traditional antidepressants increase the amount of monoamines in the brain – like serotonin. Since the brain has vitamin D receptors, some scientists think that vitamin D functions in a similar way.
Can vitamin D be used as an antidepressant? It would seem that the answer depends on whether you have a vitamin D deficiency to begin with. The studies on vitamin D supplements for depression are mixed, but one thing seems clear: If you are feeling blue, then you should have your levels of vitamin D checked.
Most of the functions of vitamin D occur via the vitamin D receptor, or VDR. Through VDR, vitamin D is an important immune system regulator. It regulates and modulates your immune system.
Vitamin D also plays a very important role in cell differentiation. When you are injured or the body is wounded in some way, cells multiply or proliferate to produce tissue to heal the wound.
While cell multiplication is important for wound healing, proliferation without differentiation can be dangerous and may be one of the underlying causes of cancer. Vitamin D is crucial for promoting cell differentiation. Vitamin D inhibits or regulates proliferation and increases cell differentiation. Vitamin D may therefore play an indirect role in protecting you from conditions like cancer.
A system called the renin-angiotensin system plays a crucial role in regulating blood pressure. The production of angiotensin is dependent on a renin encoding gene in certain cells. Without the renin gene, the body cannot produce sufficient angiotensin.