Vitamin D, a foundational vitamin-hormone

Vitamin D is foundational in terms of health and longevity, way more than a vitamin and about calcium absorption. Vitamin D is more of a hormone and one of the key endocrine systems that permeate all of our tissues, in particular our immune cells. Vitamin D receptors appear in our vital organs, connective tissues, muscles, glands, the brain and retina, and the gastrointestinal tract, everything. Which is not surprising, given the importance of photosynthesis and energy in the cyvle of Life.

Vitamin D is influenced by numerous variants in genes coding for them. This essential nutrient that also acts as a hormone and modulator of gene expression is involved in regulation of both innate and acquired immune function, cognition, growth and development, the insulin/glucose response,  long-term cardiovascular health, circadian rythms, hormone, neurotransmitters, the microbiota and much more. Insufficiency of this vitamin is key in disease disgnoses, yet few conventional doctors have been educated on its importance. Over 70 percent of American are low in this vitamin-hormone.

New complexisities discovered

Recent preclinical research showed that vitamin D works closely with the master metabolic regulator AMPK (adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase), feeding it crucial information about environmental and nutritional conditions. Constantly monitoring all inputs that affect long-term energetic balance in cells, the AMPK networking system (which exerts great control over redox balance and cellular aging processes) in turn influences vitamin D-related functions according to its nutritional status and availability. In effect, the AMPK system helps prioritize how vitamin D goes about its work throughout the body, which is consistent with the nutrient “triage” concept. Both vitamin D and AMPK interact with extremely wide metabolic ‘social’ circles.

 

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