Vitamin Atlas

Vitamin D

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is one of the few vitamins that your body can make for itself—all you need to do is lie in the sun! Your body needs Vitamin D to help it absorb calcium, which makes your bones strong. Vitamin D deficiency can cause rickets, a weakening of the bones, teeth and muscles.

What Types of Food Have Vitamin D?

Vitamin D in the World: Boreal Bleaching

Map

Click on the button to see how Vitamin D plays a role in your:

  • Immune System
  • Digestive System
  • Urinary System
  • Intergumentary System

Intergumentary System

The primary source of Vitamin D for most people is sunlight. Our skin contains a specific type of cholesterol which, when exposed to UV light from the sun, is transformed into Vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 is an inactive form of the vitamin, and must be modified by your liver and kidney to become active.

Immune System

DNA is your body’s instruction manual. Every cell has your entire set of DNA but only needs to read a small part of it to do its job. Vitamin D can influence how the cells in your immune system do their jobs by acting on the DNA within those cells.

Immune System

Once Vitamin D is inside an immune cell, it can bind to the cell’s DNA. Depending on the situation, this can result in either an increase or a decrease in the activity of your immune system.

Urinary System

One of Vitamin D’s main roles is to maintain normal calcium levels within your body. When your body senses a low level of calcium, it activates Vitamin D. One way active Vitamin D increases calcium levels is by decreasing how much calcium is excreted in your urine.

Digestive System

One of Vitamin D’s main roles is to maintain normal calcium levels within your body. When your body senses a low level of calcium, it activates Vitamin D. One way active Vitamin D increases calcium levels is by increasing how much calcium gets absorbed from food in your gastrointestinal tract.

Digestive System

Vitamins can be fat-soluble or water-soluble. Vitamin D is fat-soluble, which means it only dissolves in fat. This makes a big difference for how our body absorbs it. Here, we see Vitamin D from our food entering our stomach.

Digestive System

Vitamin D then moves from the stomach into our small intestine. Here, if it were water-soluble, it would move right into our cells, which are full of water. Since it doesn’t dissolve in water, it can’t be absorbed just yet.

Digestive System

Vitamin D becomes surrounded by the bile in our small intestine. Bile helps Vitamin D dissolve in water, so now it can be absorbed into our body. Certain diseases that prevent us from absorbing fat can also make us deficient in fat-soluble vitamins.