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Vitamin D plays a dual role as both a vitamin and a hormone that stimulates the body to absorb calcium. Vitamin D, calcium, and phosphorus are needed to keep bones strong. This is expecially important for children's growing bones. Without vitamin D, even a diet adequate in calcium will not help as the body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium.
Vitamin D supplementation is important because it's hard to get enough during long, dark, northern winters, the elderly have more difficulty synthesizing vitamin D from sunlight, some medications interfere with vitamin D absorption and to absorb calcium which will strengthen bones and prevent fractures. Vitamin D may be useful in resisting some forms of cancer as well. Breast tissue has receptors for the vitamin D hormone. When cultured outside the body, breast cancer cells do not reproduce as readily and in fact become more normal (differentiate) in the presence of vitamin D. These studies are interpreted as evidence that higher vitamin D levels have an anti-cancer effect on breast cancer cells. There are similar reports concerning prostate cancer and cancer of the large intestine.
Vitamin D3 is the form found in fish oils and eggs, and is produced by sunlight on human skin.
Vitamin D3 (Cholecalciferol).........10 mcg (400 IU)