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Vitamin D is a 'hormone'

An international team has suggested that Vitamin D isn't really a vitamin at all -- it's actually a hormone made inside the body without any help from the sun.

health and fitness Updated: Apr 25, 2009 20:58 IST

A new study has suggested that Vitamin D isn't really a vitamin at all -- it's actually a hormone made inside the body without any help from the sun.



An international team has carried out the study and concluded that the increase of Vitamin D in our modern diets is based on a common belief which is actually a misconception with potential consequences.



"What we have confirmed with our recent research is that vitamin D is a hormone that is made by the body itself. Our bodies hormonal control system was being overwhelmed by the amount of external vitamin D," lead researcher Prof Trevor G Marshall at Murdoch University in Australia said.



The researchers go on to explode another long held belief about this secosteriod previously known as vitamin D. "You don't have to ingest any vitamin D in order to be perfectly healthy," Prof Marshall said.



So no more need for expensive supplements, no more basking in the sun to put us in a better mood? And what about the thinking that suggests vitamin D is vital in production of serotonin, an essential element linked to helping maintaining normal brain chemical function?



"What we've shown is that all forms of vitamin D from outside the body are counterproductive to body's own ability to regulate its own internal production," he said.

This conclusion doesn't mean a dramatic change of lifestyle where we must all suddenly shun the sun but the researchers do acknowledge that people have only been at risk of Vitamin D overexposure from about the same time as when bikinis made an appearance.

"Historically the amount of sunshine which people have typically been getting was adequate, certainly up until the mid twentieth century when we started to do silly things like sunbathing and wearing bikinis, and before that time people were already sourcing enough vitamin D from everyday foods like fish, mushrooms and eggs," Prof Marshall said.