Vitamin D3 is one of the pro-hormones that makes up Vitamin D. Vitamin D3 has several positive health benefits. However, getting the right amount of this essential vitamin requires a fine balance between healthy exposure to the sun and protection from the damaging effects of ultraviolet radiation.
Vitamin D3 is found in egg yolks, cheese and beef liver. Vitamin D is rarely found in foods from nature. The best source for D vitamins is fish and fish by-products. Vitamin D consists of Vitamin D3 or cholecalciferol and Vitamin D2 or ergocalciferol. Most foods that contain Vitamin D are fortified, except milk products, such as cheese or ice cream. Milk, cereal, margarine, yogurt and orange juice are all typically fortified with Vitamin D. Vitamin D2 is typically found in mushrooms. Vitamin D3 is usually obtained from the ultraviolet radiation of the sunlight.
According to a study published in Volume 64, Issue 5, "The Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprology," Vitamin D3 helped with skin conditions because of its anti-inflammatory properties. In the study, the vitamin was given to patients with psoriasis. Within 1 month, the condition disappeared. It was then given to patients with lichen planus lesions. Vitamin D3 relieved skin itching and regressed the lesions by half. The researchers then gave Vitamin D3 to those with photodermatitis. The lesions from the disorder disappeared within a month.
Vitamin D3 helps the skin repair from wounds. It helps to prevent infections inside the wounds. In a study published in Volume 363, Issue 9405, of "The Lancet," it was found that those deficient in Vitamin D were more likely to suffer from burn injuries caused by sun exposure. The study also stated that Vitamin D3 was useful for healing a burn injury once it occurred. Vitamin D3 can help rejuvenate the skin and may be used by women to get rid of stretch marks.
All the D vitamins play a role in the prevention of cancer. Vitamin D was found to lower the risk of cancer without adverse side effects, according to a study published in the February 2006 issue of the "American Journal of Public Health." Vitamin D was found to be effective against colon, prostate, breast and ovarian cancer. In another study published in the September 2006 issue of "Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology," the problem of ultraviolet radiation being a risk factor for non-melanoma skin cancer was weighed against the need for sun to synthesize Vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiencies can lead to bone disease, cancer, autoimmune disease or cardiovascular disease. The article stressed the importance between a balance of sun exposure that both protects the skin and allows for the correct amount of Vitamin D to be synthesized.
There are factors that affect the absorption of Vitamin D3. In a study performed by the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, it was found that aging decreased the ability of skin to produce Vitamin D3 when exposed to ultraviolet radiation. In a study published in a January 9, 1982, issue of "The Lancet," it was found that skin pigmentation also affected the absorption of Vitamin D from ultraviolet radiation. Those with increased skin pigmentation needed more exposure to ultraviolet radiation to synthesize Vitamin D than those with less skin pigmentation.