I am referring to vitamin D, the “sunshine vitamin.” Vitamin D is an essential vitamin that can only be synthesized by the body when skin is exposed to the sun.
Vitamin D deficiency can result in many health problems including, weak bones, bad eyesight, and neurological symptoms
New research results report yet another benefit of vitamin D, this time as “heart tranquilizer.”
In laboratory studies, researchers from the University of Michigan observed in rats with cardiac hypertrophy that treatment with activated vitamin D (1,25 dihydroxyvitamin D3, a form called calcitriol) provides protection against heart failure. Cardiac hypertrophy is a condition wherein heart muscles grow abnormally bigger, leading to enlarged and overworked hearts. Treatments with activated vitamin D prevented overstimulation and overcontraction of heart muscles symptomatic of heart failure. In other words, vitamin D “tranquilizes” the heart.
About 5.3 million Americans have heart failure, a progressive, disabling condition in which the heart becomes enlarged as it is forced to work harder and harder, making it a challenge even to perform normal daily activities. Many people with heart disease or poorly controlled high blood pressure go on to experience a form of heart failure called congestive heart failure, in which the heart’s inability to pump blood around the body causes weakness and fluid build-up in lungs and limbs. Many people with heart failure, who tend to be older, have been found to be deficient in vitamin D.
In recent years, many people avoided exposure to sunshine for aesthetic and health reasons. In many parts of Asia, women avoid the sun because its skin-darkening effect. In European and North America, sunshine has been blamed to cause skin cancer. This led to large number of the population to be deficient in vitamin D. About one-third to one-half of US adults middle-aged and older. It also affects a lot children and adolescents.
A recent study gives the following disturbing statistics:
- 40% of American infants do not get enough vitamin D
- 12% of infants and young children are already deficient in vitamin D,
- 28% are at risk for vitamin D deficiency
The sun is a source of renewable energy. It is also a source of seemingly endlss benefits endless health benefits.