Vitamin D Deficiency
Are You At Risk?
Low blood levels of Vitamin D have been strongly associated with higher risk for and incidences of:
By design, the human body makes Vitamin D in the skin in reaction with sunlight. However, latitudes north of 30 degrees do not receive intense enough sunlight during most of the year. As a result, Vitamin D deficiency (70% of Americans) is widespread!
Vitamin D is stored in the blood for a few weeks and in the fat for a few months. Serum 25(OH)D levels generally drop by 20 percent to 30 percent during winter in mid-latitudes and the prevalence of D deficiency increases markedly.
Function of Vitamin D
The major biologic function of vitamin D is to maintain normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus. Vitamin D aids in the absorption of calcium, helping to form and maintain strong bones.
But there is more… There are only 30,000 genes in your body and vitamin D has been shown to influence over 2,000 of them. That is one of the primary reasons it influences so many diseases, from cancer and autism to heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis.
Internationally recognized research scientist and vitamin D expert, Dr. William Grant, Ph.D. led a study that found that about 30 percent of cancer deaths could be prevented each year with higher levels of vitamin D. Vitamin D also regulates the expression of genes that influence your immune system to attack and destroy bacteria and viruses. It produces over 200 anti-microbial peptides, the most important of which is cathelicidin, a naturally occurring broad-spectrum antibiotic. Research shows that it is very rare for someone with optimized vitamin D levels to come down with the flu.
Get Your Levels Tested
Get your levels tested, especially if you are experiencing any symptoms or low energy. Make sure that you request the 25(OH)D test DiaSoron assay, and not the 1,25(OH)D test from Quest Labs.
The New York Times recently published an article about how the latter produces many false readings, resulting in doctor’s prescribing insufficient dosages. Take control of your own health, and make sure your doctor is up on the latest research. Many doctors have had little to no nutrition education and are simply not up to date. Read the research through the links below and consider these ranges recommended by my teacher Dr. Joseph Mercola, DO.
Food sources of Vitamin D
Food sources of Vitamin D are limited, and not likely to supply you with sufficient amounts. Lard is a decent source of D, but make sure its from a naturally raised pig. Cold-water ocean fish such as salmon, sardines, herring, and mackerel have vitamin D in the skin, organs and fat under the skin, around the fins and at the tail. However, most of us are unaccustomed to eating these parts. Two other downsides are that fish bio-accumulate mercury and other toxins, and the world’s fish supply is rapidly being depleted. Milk and orange juice are often fortified with Vitamin D, but typically with the potentially problematic version D2.
Cod Liver Oil
Cod Liver Oil is no longer recommended for reaching optimal D levels. Because the optimal level may require much higher dosages than previously thought, reaching those levels with CLO would result in likely overdose of Vitamin A, which is also toxic if levels go too high.
Optimizing Vitamin D Levels
The best option is to sun yourself daily with as much skin exposed as possible, just until the skin turns light pink. Do not burn! However, this is insufficient in the Fall, Winter and Spring for those of us living north of 30 degrees latitude. In the non-Summer months, other than food sources, we have two options:
I never thought I’d be considering it, but sources I trust recommend the use of tanning or non-tanning UVB lamps I provided a link below in the resource section for you to learn more about this option.
Personally, I supplement with oral Vitamin D3 made by Carlsons. Be careful! Reaching the optimal levels requires different dosages for different people, and Vitamin D can be toxic because it is fat soluble. Test your blood levels, and work with a doctor to push to optimal levels. (especially if you are not well)
Avoid D2, Use D3
Unlike D3 which is found naturally in animal products, D2 is a synthetic analogue of Vitamin D, with different characteristics. According to Dr. Mercola, DO, it is inappropriate to regard Vitamin D2 as a vitamin. Almost all the current toxicity data refers to Vitamin D2, not D3.
Who Should Avoid Vitamin D?
If you have sarcoidosis, tuberculosis, or lymphoma, request the 1,25(OH)D test before you supplement with any sun exposure or oral vitamin D, as it is a better indicator in people with these health challenges.
We are Your Advocates
Have you been wanting to turn all the best nutrition and lifestyle practices into lifelong habits that you love? We are experts in the approach to lifestyle change that works. While a Baltimore Health Coach supports you to make realistic, yet powerful step-by-step upgrades to your way of eating, we will also advocate for you and your family in your relationships with your doctors. Doctors are typically incredibly busy and have had little-to-no training in nutrition and holistic health.
The purpose of this article is simply to inform you the reader about the latest research and opinions on Vitamin D deficiency. In no way is it to serve as medical advice nor to discourage you from following the advice of your physicians.
1) Vitamin D Resource Page note: all the facts and figures have come from articles on Dr. Mercola’s site
2) Dark Deception by Dr. Joseph Mercola, DO
3) Naked at Noon by Krispin Sullivan, RN
4) Journal Articles on Vitamin D