Each softgel of Natural Stacks’ Vitamin D3 with Coconut Oil contains 5,000 IU (more than 10x the recommended daily value) of Cholecalciferol, the form of vitamin D with highest bioavailability. The softgels also contain 100mg of organic coconut oil to aid with the absorption of the fat-soluble vitamin. Cold-pressed organic coconut oil can probably be described as the healthiest oil around, and acts as a superior carrier for the vitamin.
For a long time people thought that the steroid vitamin’s only important function was in the absorption of calcium and phosphate and therefore the mineralisation of bones. However, it soon became clear that many tissues in the body, including the brain, expressed vitamin D receptors, suggesting the vitamin had many other functions. It is now clear that apart from being essential for bone health it has many other important functions in a healthy immune system, in ensuring optimal cognitive abilities and in avoiding mood-related diseases such as depression.
Vitamin D is synthesised in our skins through the actions of UVB rays in sunlight. However, it is estimated that as many as 70% of the population suffer from a deficiency of the vitamin. Many people do not get sufficient exposure to sunlight nowadays to obtain all the vitamin D they need from natural synthesis. The widespread use of sunscreen lotion, because of people’s fear of skin cancer, has significantly contributed to the problem. Even a low SPF factor sunscreen can reduce the vitamin D synthesised in the skin by up to 90%. We do not obtain much of our requirement for the vitamin from the diet, since only a few foods have any vitamin D. Glass does not let UVB rays through, therefore spending time inside during the day does not let us benefit from sunlight in terms of vitamin production. It is therefore easy for people to develop a deficiency of vitamin D.
Scientists had noted a correlation between depression and vitamin D deficiency for a while now. However, they were not sure whether the lack of vitamin D contributed to the development of depression, or whether the causation was the other way, since depressed people often spend time indoors. Another puzzling observation was that autistic children had a marked deficiency. Recent work from scientists in the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute published in the journal FASEB sheds light on the role of vitamin D in these diseases. The researchers found that vitamin D is essential for the expression of an enzyme that is required for the synthesis of serotonin. Serotonin of course is the neurotransmitter most closely associated with controlling mood and social behaviour. The fact that modern antidepressants invariably belong to the Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors (SSRI) shows the importance of this neurotransmitter for mental health.
The scientists also showed that the vitamin D was essential for the production of two other peptide hormones, oxytocin and vasopressin, which are also known to play pivotal roles in determining behaviour. The actions in autistic children might not appear to be very relevant to normal people, however remember that autism is only the extreme of a spectrum of behaviour. If vitamin D is responsible for the control of social behaviours, than it is probably important for confidence in social situations and being able to interact effectively and easily with other people.
A large number of studies exist trying to determine the correlation between vitamin D status and cognitive abilities. The connection between the vitamin levels and decreased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease was also investigated. Cognition enhancement is a very complex field. It is difficult to compare the results of the different studies because of the variety of methods used to measure brain function. However, a meta analysis of 38 different studies concluded that lower vitamin D concentrations are associated with poor cognitive function and increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Vitamin D appears to have strong neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties. Some of the terrible neurodegenerative diseases that have been associated with a deficiency in vitamin D are Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia, Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis. Vitamin D is thought to be important for the action of the immune system and its deficiency is implicated in autoimmune disease such as multiple sclerosis. The vitamin receptor and enzymes involved in its metabolism are present in certain immune cells such as T cells, B cells, and monocytes. Vitamin D does appear to stimulate the body’s innate immune response. It enhances the phagocytic actions of macrophages and monocytes and stimulates their chemotaxis towards pathogens. Vitamin D is also essential for the production of the antimicrobial protein cathelicidin in immune cells. Studies have shown that low serum vitamin D levels increase susceptibility to upper respiratory tract infections, such as the flu.
Vitamin D also modulates the induced immune response, which is initiated when B and T cells encounter an antigen, which they developed a ‘memory’ against. The vitamin appears to increase the production of cytokines that increase tolerance, while decreasing the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines. Vitamin D therefore has an anti-inflammatory action. Perhaps more significantly, it appears to limit the division of, and antibody production by B cells. It is thought that this action of vitamin D ensures that B cells don’t start producing antibodies against the body’s own tissues. When this modulation fails the result is autoimmune disease such as diabetes I, multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus or inflammatory bowel disease.
Natural Stacks’ Vitamin D3 contains cholecalciferol, the form of vitamin D with the highest bioavailability. Optimal absorption of the fat-soluble vitamin is ensured by its suspension in the super-healthy coconut oil. Vitamin D is synthesised in the skin by a reaction that requires UVB sunrays. Because of our decreasing exposure to sunlight, and use of sunscreen lotions, a large part of the population is deficient in vitamin D. As well as being necessary for calcium and phosphate absorption and bone formation and health, vitamin D is also necessary for modulating the immune function, and for optimal cognitive ability. Recent studies have revealed that vitamin D is necessary for the synthesis of the e neurotransmitter serotonin, and so plays an important part in decreasing the risk of developing depression.