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The time when vitamin D was viewed as a vitamin involved PRIMARILY in the regulation of calcium and bone metabolism has gone. Today, we know that at least some, if not all, of the mechanisms of action for 1,25-(OH)2-vitamin D appear to function as a STEROID HORMONE.
Most tissues and cells in the body have a vitamin D receptor and several possess the enzymes to convert the primary circulating form into the active form of vitamin D. Brain, prostate, breast, immune cells, and colon tissues, among others, have a vitamin D receptor. Directly or indirectly, vitamin D controls more than 200 genes, including genes responsible for the regulation of cellular proliferation, differentiation, cell death, and angiogenesis.
Vitamin D also plays a role in decreasing the risk of many chronic diseases including cancer, autoimmune diseases, osteoarthritis, diabetes, infectious diseases, lung function and wheezing illnesses, and cardiovascular disease. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to an increased incidence of schizophrenia and depression.
These are some of the reasons why vitamin D is so important for health.
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