Free Public Talk on Health Benefits of Vitamin D

UC Riverside’s Anthony Norman will explain how vitamin D is closely connected to good health

Anthony Norman is a distinguished professor emeritus of biochemistry and biomedical sciences at UC Riverside.Photo credit: UCR Strategic Communications.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Anthony Norman, a distinguished professor emeritus of biochemistry and biomedical sciences at the University of California, Riverside and an international expert on vitamin D, will give a free public lecture on campus on Wednesday, March 4, in which he will explain the relationship between vitamin D and health.

Titled “From Vitamin D to Hormone D: A Consideration of What Is Important for Good Health,” the hour-long talk will begin at noon in Room 302 of the Highlander Union Building.  Parking information can be found here.

Vitamin D is formed when sunlight acts on sterols in the skin. Two forms of vitamin D are produced.  Later, chemical reactions in the liver change these two forms into compounds that help form bones. At present about half of elderly North Americans and Western Europeans and probably also of the rest of the world are not receiving enough vitamin D to maintain healthy bone.

“It is clear that merely eating vitamin D-rich foods is not adequate to solve the problem for most adults,” Norman said.

It was his lab that discovered, in 1967, that the vitamin is converted into a steroid hormone by the body. Two years later, his lab discovered the vitamin D receptor (or VDR).

In his lecture, Norman will review the fundamentals of vitamin D and how it produces a biological response contributing to good health.  He will discuss the benefits of vitamin D for health, the appropriate dose of vitamin D and what some good sources of the vitamin are.

The lecture is being sponsored by UC Riverside Wellness Program for Faculty and Staff, and the School of Medicine.

About vitamin D:

Also known as the “sunshine vitamin,” vitamin D plays an important role in the metabolism of calcium.  It was discovered nearly a century ago as a dietary agent that prevented the bone disease rickets.

Exposure to the sun is the body’s natural way of producing the vitamin. Skin exposed to solar UVB radiation can produce significant quantities of vitamin D. But this vitamin D synthesis is reliably available year-round only at latitudes between 40 degrees north and 40 degrees south. A combination of sunshine, food, supplements, and possibly even limited tanning exposure can raise the daily intake of the vitamin.

Vitamin D is itself biologically inert. Its biological effects result only after it is metabolized first in the liver and then in the kidney – a process that converts the vitamin into a steroid hormone.

The best sources of unfortified foods naturally containing vitamin D are animal products and fatty fish and liver extracts like salmon or sardines and cod liver oil. Vitamin D-fortified food sources in the United States include milk and milk products, orange juice, breakfast cereals and bars, grain products, pastas, infant formulas and margarines.

Vitamin D excess can cause health problems such as hypercalcemia, vomiting, thirst and tissue damage. The precise upper limit for daily vitamin D intake is not well defined.  Rickets, a disease caused by deficiency of vitamin D, is characterized by defective bone growth.

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Additional Contacts

Anthony Norman
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UC Riverside Wellness Program
Tel: (951) 827-1488

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