Vitamin D3, otherwise known as cholecalciferol, is a pro-hormone and essential nutrient produced in the skin. It regulates calcium homeostasis (ability to hold stable level) and balance within the body.
Vitamin D is best known for its role in the development and maintenance of healthy teeth, bones and cartilage. Vitamin D helps the body keep bones and teeth strong by improving the absorption of calcium and phosphorus from the small intestine. Vitamin D also affects parathyroid hormone, which regulates bone turnover and release of calcium from bone.
There are two sources, vitamins D2 and D3. Vitamin D2, ergocalciferol, is considered a poor choice and is derived from sources such as fortified milk, herring, mackerel, tuna, salmon, sardines, eggs, fortified cereals and baked goods.
Vitamin D3, cholecalciferol, is the more active and preferable form of vitamin D. It is the most widely known of the vitamin D series. Vitamin D3 is preferred because it has a higher bioavailability and it has more roles in biological activity for its various metabolites or isomers that have biological benefit.
Vitamin D is known as the “sunshine vitamin” because it can be produced photochemically by the action of sunlight or ultraviolet light from the precursor sterol 7-dehydrocholesterol, which is present in the skin. Vitamin D formed in this manner is called “natural vitamin D” or vitamin D3. Sun exposure for just 15 minutes daily can provide 2,000 to 5,000 IU of vitamin D.
Vitamin D3 can also be obtained from animal products (such as eggs or fish) and fortified foods or can be consumed in the form of fish oil. As a fat-soluble vitamin, it is stored to a certain extent in the body.
Health Benefits of Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol)
Vitamin D deficiency can lead to serious effects. Children without adequate vitamin D are more susceptible to developing rickets, a disease characterized by deformation of bones and teeth. Adults with insufficient amounts of vitamin D have an increased risk of developing osteomalacia (similar to rickets), and are more likely to suffer from osteoporosis, a bone-weakening disease.
The primary function of vitamin D is to promote and enhance calcium and magnesium absorption, the two essential minerals necessary for strong bones. Vitamin D3 is also required for the body to be able to utilize phosphorus, and for the absorption and metabolism of vitamin A.
By increasing GI absorption of phosphorus and calcium, cholecalciferol increases serum calcium concentrations, which in turn increases osteoclastic resorption and distal renal tubular reabsorption of calcium, whose optimal levels are required to ensure proper bone mineral density and serum (blood) calcium levels.
This is extremely beneficial among very young children where it can treat rickets in conjunction with vitamin A, and in the treatment of osteoporosis in the elderly, especially post menopausal women who often suffer from fractures due to loss of bone density.
Vitamin D3 is normally used in the following Healthelicious products:
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