Vitamin D and cholesterol are closely linked, both in bodily processes as well as in nutrition. One important role of cholesterol is that is plays a vital part in the synthesis of vitamin D in the body. In the diet, vitamin D is found in foods that have high levels of cholesterol, such as cod liver oil and eggs. Studies have been done to see if there is a correlation between the levels of vitamin D a person has and their cholesterol levels, but results are inconclusive.
There is a close connection in the body between Vitamin D and cholesterol. One of the biggest sources of vitamin D for individuals is contact with sunlight; upon exposure to sunlight the body can synthesize its own vitamin D. Cholesterol is involved in the process of synthesizing vitamin D from sunlight, and without cholesterol, vitamin D synthesis would be impossible.
Dietary sources also provide a connection between these two substances. There is typically a correlation between foods that are rich in vitamin D and cholesterol — that being, foods that are high in vitamin D are often also high in cholesterol. For example, cod liver oil is an excellent source of vitamin D, but it is also very high in cholesterol. Other foods that are high in vitamin D are lard and eggs, two foods that are notorious for being high in cholesterol.
Many scientists are researching a possible correlation between an individual’s levels of vitamin D and cholesterol. High cholesterol, also known as hypercholesterolemia, effects many individuals and increases one’s risk for heart disease and stroke. It is important to keep cholesterol levels under control in order to stay healthy, which is why many are searching to see if there is a correlation between these two nutrients.
Studies seem to show that individuals with higher levels of vitamin D have lower cholesterol levels and are generally healthier overall than individuals with low levels of vitamin D. Yet, these studies do not show a direct correlation between the two. For example, vitamin D is involved in calcium absorption, so having higher levels of vitamin D may mean that more calcium is being absorbed and that calcium is the nutrient actually causing an effect on cholesterol. Individuals with high levels of vitamin D also may have these high levels because they spend a lot of time outdoors in the sunlight doing physical activities, which is one way to reduce cholesterol. Although studies indicate that individuals with high levels of vitamin D have lower cholesterol, it is unknown whether or not this result is directly related to vitamin D.
There are many benefits of vitamin D, such as helping to regulate levels of calcium, preventing osteoporosis, and improving moods. If one chooses to take vitamin D supplements to help lower cholesterol or to gain any of the many benefits of this nutrient, they should choose their supplements carefully. Two popular types of vitamin D are vitamin D2 and vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 is naturally occurring and easy for the body to process. Vitamin D2 is difficult for the body to process and may result in toxicity. Vitamin D3 is the safer supplement to choose, and daily recommended dosages should always be followed.