Why we need vitamin D

Why do we need vitamin D? It is needed by every cell in the body. It helps us absorb calcium, which is part of teeth and bones. To know how Vitamin D affects you to lose weight check out this article.

It appears to protect us from cancer, multiple sclerosis, obesity, diabetes, heart attacks, heart failure, high blood pressure, the skin condition called psoriasis, infections, allergies, polycystic ovaries, inflammatory bowel disease, muscle weakness, acid reflux, dementia, osteoporosis, falls and fractures, inflammation, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, thyroid disease and adrenal disease.


There is evidence that vitamin D protects us from cancer of the breast, rectum, ovary, prostate, stomach, bladder, oesophagus, kidney, lung and uterus, and also protects us from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and multiple myeloma. What a list! I’m all for spending a pound a week to reduce my chance of diseases like that. In auto-immune diseases like multiple sclerosis, the immune system attacks part of the body. Vitamin D calms this attack down.

How we found out about vitamin D

Whistler described rickets in 1645. It is a condition in which bones are soft, weak, and more likely to break. It can lead to bowed legs, curved spine, and thick knees, ankles and wrists. It was associated with lack of sunlight in 1890. In 1919 it was suggested that ultraviolet light might cure it. Vitamin D was isolated in the 1930s. In 1969 it was found to change into to a hormone that controls calcium absorption.

Rickets is caused by a lack of vitamin D. Those with dark skin living in cold countries are particularly susceptible. Vitamin D is not really a vitamin. It is a hormone, which we can make, and so not really a vitamin, but the name has stuck.

Some sun is good

Cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) is formed in the skin from cholesterol by ultra violet light. It is converted to 25-hydroxyvitamin D in the liver. This is converted to 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (calcitriol) in the kidneys.

Once upon a time, our ancestors used to walk around all day, hunting and gathering, or sitting outside eating or relaxing. They were either naked, or partly covered by animal skins. The sun didn’t shine every day, but when it did, it boosted their vitamin D levels.

Nowadays many of us do indoor jobs, and many people use sun blocking cream, so our levels are far too low. Another problem is that the low winter sun does not contribute to vitamin D levels north of Birmingham. Moderate sun exposure is good, but we should be careful to avoid sunburn.

Vitamin D from food

Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin. The misguided fashion of low fat foods has reduced the vitamin D levels we abosorb. Fatty fish are the highest natural food sources of vitamin D. Eggs provide some. Butter, liver, full fat cheese, cream, and full cream milk provide a little.

low vitamin d and cancer_2

Vitamin D needs to be supplemented by vegetarians, and especially by vegans. Vegans usually take vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol), as vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) comes from animal sources. However there is evidence that vitamin D3 is more effective.

Supplementing vitamin D deficiency

Ideally we should measure vitamin D levels before deciding on supplements. In some areas, the NHS will test vitamin D levels, but not in others. Also there is some doubt as to whether the levels the NHS says are adequate are actually enough to protect us from future disease.. One thing you can be sure of, if the NHS says you are short of vitamin D, then you are really short, and must do something about it.

One reason people may be short of vitamin D is because they are taking drugs that deplete it, like epilepsy pills, bile acid sequestrants, cholestyramine, cimetidine, colestipol, corticosteroids, glutethimide, heparin, isoniazid, mineral oil, neomycin, phenobarbital, phenolphthalein, phenytoin, and primidone.

Many drugs cause nutritional deficiencies, which is one reason drugs cause side effects. It is cheap to take vitamin D, and a simple way of making us less likely to suffer from nasty diseases like cancer and heart disease.

Like any other substance, vitamin D should not be taken at too high a dose. 10,000 International Units per day is probably the maximum to take, and I’d not suggest taking so much without a test. Vitamin D supplements are best taken in oily capsules, as these are better absorbed than dry capsules or tablets. Vegetarian oily capsules may contain the inflammatory chemical, carrageenan.

Make sure yours do not. Doctors sometimes prescribe calcitriol, but overdosing with calcitriol can lead to excessive calcium absorption, and calcium deposits in soft tissue, including the kidneys. It is safer to use vitamin D3. Ideally take magnesium and vitamin K2 with vitamin D, as these remove calcium from the arteries, and take it to the bone.

WatchFit Experts change lives!

And they can do the same for you.


Pollyanna Hale Health and Lifestyle coaches
Lost 13 Kg in Total
Mel, 32y Location: London, United Kingdom Working with Pollyanna changed everything. I lost 13kg, got toned and have more energy than ever! Get same results!


Chriz Zaremba Fitness Consultant
Lost 45 Kg in Total
Chris, 50y Location: London, United Kingdom Lost 45kg after the age of 50 and now competes and wins physique competitions and runs marathons Check our weight loss plans