ScienceAlert Homepage

Vitamin D actually a hormone
ScienceNetwork WA   
Thursday, 23 April 2009
istock_vitamins.jpg
Expensive supplements and sun exposure
may actually be counterproductive to our
body's vitamin D production.
Image: iStockphoto

According to Professor Trevor G. Marshall, the increase of vitamin D in our modern diets is based on a common belief he states is a misconception with potential consequences.

Prof Marshall from the School of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology at Murdoch University in Western Australia has recently confirmed several astounding aspects about vitamin D that will surprise you.

“What we have confirmed with our recent research” says the Professor, “is that vitamin D isn’t a vitamin at all, it’s a hormone that is made by the body itself.”

Prof Marshall goes on to explode another long held belief about this secosteriod previously known as vitamin D.

“You don’t have to ingest any vitamin D in order to be perfectly healthy.”

So no more need for expensive supplements, no more basking in the sun to put us in a better mood? And what about the thinking that suggests vitamin D is vital in the production of serotonin, an essential element linked to helping maintaining normal brain chemical function?

“What we’ve shown is that all forms of vitamin D from outside the body are counterproductive to the body’s own ability to regulate its own internal production.”

This conclusion doesn’t mean a dramatic change of lifestyle where we must all suddenly shun the sun but Prof Marshall does acknowledge that people have only been at risk of vitamin D overexposure from about the same time as when bikinis made an appearance.

“Historically the amount of sunshine which people have typically been getting was adequate, certainly up until the mid twentieth century when we started to do silly things like sunbathing and wearing bikinis, and before that time people were already sourcing enough vitamin D from everyday foods like fish, mushrooms and eggs.”

It seems modern living has much to answer for according to Prof Marshall, who also points out that society quickly exacerbated the vitamin D issue by supplementing the food chain and encouraging people to subscribe to a vitamin regime in their pursuit of a healthier lifestyle.

At this point says Prof Marshall, “our bodies hormonal control system was being overwhelmed by the amount of external vitamin D”.

So what are the risks of too much vitamin D? Prof Marshall’s concern is that after decades of vitamin D consumption from external sources, we have become even more susceptible to chronic diseases. Our bodies’ attempt to suppress the excess levels of vitamin D has been making our immune systems vulnerable.
 
“The good news” counters Prof Marshall, “is that we now understand far more closely what causes chronic disease and can work to produce a therapy.”


A story provided by ScienceNetwork WA - Activate your connections to science.  This article is under copyright; permission must be sought from ScienceNetwork WA to reproduce it. To comment on this article go to the original story here.
 
hidden image hidden image hidden image hidden image