Vitamin D, or calciferol, is a fat-soluble vitamin available in a few foods, though most of the vitamin in American diets is derived from fortified foods. Vitamin D is commonly referred to as `the sunshine vitamin` because the body can synthesize Vitamin D when skin is exposed to sunlight.
The type of Vitamin D synthesized from the sun`s ultraviolet rays is Vitamin D3, or cholecalciferol. Vitamin D2, or ergocalciferol, originates in plants. Once in the system, both types are converted by the liver and kidneys into an active form which is involved in strengthening bones and other critical functions. Few foods naturally contain much Vitamin D; most of the nutrient comes from fortified foods and exposure to sunlight.
In this model, carbon atoms are dark gray, hydrogen atoms are white, and oxygen atoms are red.
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