Vitamin D

Vitamin D controls genetic expression for health, disease

Wednesday, December 01, 2010 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: vitamin D, genetic expression, health news

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(NaturalNews) Vitamin D is especially active in areas of the human genome related to autoimmune diseases, providing yet more evidence that the vitamin plays a critical role in regulating the immune system and protecting against certain diseases.

In a study published in the journal Genome Research, researchers from Oxford University mapped the human genome looking for clusters of vitamin D receptors -- sites where the vitamin can bind to DNA, changing the expression of a gene. They found that these receptors were especially common in regions that have previously been linked to common autoimmune diseases, including Type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis and Crohn's disease. Vitamin D receptors were also common in regions linked to colorectal cancer and leukemia.

The study shows how serious the effects of vitamin D deficiency can be, the researchers noted.

Scientists have long known that vitamin D plays an essential role in maintaining healthy teeth and bones, but only recently has the vitamin's role in immune regulation started to become clear.

"The benefits of vitamin D include a reduction in the risk of colon polyps and prostate cancer, less coronary artery disease, and a decreased chance of developing type 1 diabetes, plus increased muscle strength and coordination, along with higher bone strength," writes Phyllis A. Balch in her book Prescription for Nutritional Healing, 4th Edition.

The best source of vitamin D is exposure to sunlight. In only a fraction of the time it takes to burn, the body can produce up to 10,000 IU of the vitamin -- as little as 15 minutes per day for light-skinned people and as much as three times that for people with much darker skin.

Sunscreen blocks the ultraviolet radiation that the body needs to synthesize vitamin D.

To learn more about the health benefits of vitamin D, read the free NaturalNews report "The Healing Power of Sunlight & Vitamin D" at

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