The Role of Vitamin D in Liver Disease

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Over the years, the role of vitamin D in chronic liver disease has been studied by many scientists. Some research shows that chronic liver disease leads to vitamin D deficiency but many studies also show that low vitamin D levels may lead to liver disease. What is Vitamin D? Vitamin D is a fat-soluble substance that is synthesized in the skin during exposure to sunlight. This is why it is often called the sunshine vitamin. Although it is called a vitamin, it is not an essential vitamin in the strictest sense of the word because it is formed in the body. In contrast, vitamins are substances that must be obtained from the diet because the body does not produce them naturally. Very few foods contain vitamin D, and these include oily fish such as sardines, salmon and mackerel, eggs and beef liver. There are two types of vitamin D - cholecalciferol (vitamin D3) and ergocalciferol (vitamin D2) – which can be obtained from the diet and from dietary supplements. When the body receives enough sunlight, it synthesizes vitamin D as cholecalciferol in the skin. Vitamin D is believed to play an important role in bone health, as well as in promoting neuromuscular and immune functions of the body. Studies show that it has antioxidant effects and can help prevent chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. On the other hand, research shows that a deficiency in this vitamin can lead to weak bones (osteomalacia or rickets in children) and may increase one's risk for cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment (decreased mental abilities), severe asthma in children, and cancer. Recent research also suggests that low vitamin D levels may play a role in various forms of chronic liver disease such as non-alcoholic fatty liver dis... ... middle of paper ... ...er guidance. In general, liver detox is not recommended for individuals who have low blood sugar levels, heart disease, and other serious health conditions. Works Cited Barchetta I, Angelico F, Del Ben M, et al. Strong association between non alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and low 25(OH) vitamin D levels in an adult population with normal serum liver enzymes. BMC Medicine 2011, 9:85 http://www.biomedcentral.com/1741-7015/9/85 Nair, S. Vitamin D Deficiency and Liver Disease. Gastroenterol Hepatol Aug 2010; 6(8):491-493. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2950664/ NIH. Vitamin D. http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/ American College of Gastroenterology. Vitamin D Deficiency Common In Patients With IBD, Chronic Liver Disease. ScienceDaily. 13 October 2008. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081006092645.htm

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