This Journal is a presentation about the use of daily vitamin D for health maintenance in our increasingly toxic global ecosystem. I hope to empower you with information about an important nutrient for daily use in your proactive disease preventive lifestyle practice.
I presented a much earlier Journal entry on vitamin D on December 17, 2010, which you can see at this link. This entry features a quality comprehensive article by Donald Miller, M.D., one of the better researchers and commentators on natural biochemical health considerations. He is a Professor of Cardiovascular Surgery at the University of Washington, and is highly respected for his work.
In brief, vitamin D is almost universally low in people who live in northern latitudes, certainly from Colorado on up north.
One of the most important things you’re missing, if you can’t get outside, is sunlight. Even if you have a sunny window in your home or office, windows absorb (and thus block) UVB rays. So, any sunlight you get through the glass won’t lead to the formation of active vitamin D. (1) Also, during the winter, chances are you would not get enough vitamin D from the sun even if you manage to get outside on a regular basis.
Above a certain latitude, the UVB rays are not strong enough to trigger vitamin D production during the winter months. For example, exposure to sunlight in Boston produced declining amounts of vitamin D after August, and none at all from November through February. (2)
Nature has designed a system in which we go into the sun, thus exposing ourselves to the sun’s UVB rays which convert cholesterol into thousands of units of cholecalciferol. The liver then converts cholecalciferol into 25(OH)D. Our organs then make the active cellular steroid hormone, 1,25-D, which helps to regulate genes in every organ of the body.
I have stopped measuring initial blood levels of vitamin D on all patients as I am finding few who are in a healthy normal range, and fewer in the optimal range of 40 to 70 ng/ml. Most patients are in the very low normal or below normal range which is less than 35 ng/ml.
My usual approach is to estimate clients’ needs, put them on a moderate dosing of the vitamin, and then measure their blood levels after a month of dosing. If clients come to me and are already on a dosing of vitamin D, I will run an initial study to assess their level on their presenting dose of vitamin D.
More useful than measuring an initial vitamin D blood level is to determine if a client has a Vitamin D Receptor (VDR) mutation, which I find in about 50% of patients, as either a heterozygous mutation (41%) or a homozygous mutation (9%). If there is a VDR mutation, then more vitamin D will be required to flood and activate the abnormal receptor to create the beneficial effects of vitamin D. The study I recommend for assessing VDR mutations and other important mutation events is easily done through 23andMe.com.
The usual dosing I start clients with is 5000-10,000 I.U. daily. If there is a VDR mutation, then this issue is noted when considering initial and subsequent blood levels of vitamin D.
I have never heard of, or seen, a case of vitamin D toxicity. One would have to have severe liver failure for such toxicity to be possible at these low dosing levels. The issue of vitamin D toxicity is so rare as to consider this a rather overwrought urban myth, especially at low dosing ranges of 5000-10,000 I.U. per day. True vitamin D toxicity can be caused by the extraordinary (crazy) doses of vitamin D sometimes used in the medical industry of 50,000 to 100,000 IU by injection. This usually is given as vitamin D2, which is not physiologically correct.
However, if one is taking too much oral vitamin D3 for their system, this increased usage can possibly skew and diminish the absorption of the other fat soluble vitamins via the gastrointestinal tract. The other fat soluble vitamins are vitamins A, E, K1, and K2.
Also, please take notice of Chris Kresser’s informative analysis of this evolving consideration in this writing.
So, the important consideration when using higher daily doses of vitamin D, which is a fat soluble vitamin, is to be mindful of how its use may inhibit the absorption of the other fat soluble vitamins which are vitamins A, K, and E. Furthermore, if one has certain mutations which relate to these other fat soluble vitamins’ assimilation and utilization, then dosing guidelines for the 4 fat soluble vitamins must be more broadly considered.
Risk factors for vitamin D deficiency include:
- Dark skin
- Living north of the 35 parallel
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Sunscreen use
Vitamin D deficiency has been shown to play a role in almost every major disease, including:
- Osteoporosis and osteopenia
- 17 varieties of cancer, including breast, prostate, and colon cancer
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, and diabetes
- Lower immune system function
- Autoimmune diseases
- Multiple sclerosis
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Infertility and PMS
- Parkinson’s disease
- Seasonal Affective Disorder
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Chronic pain
- Periodontal disease
The list above was modified from an excellent review of Vitamin D written by Dr. Frank Lipman, M.D., posted on The Huffington Post, October 7, 2009. Dr. Lipman’s article can be reviewed here. The article is very cogent and informative, and is supportive of Dr. Miller’s more comprehensive article, but is less biochemically and informationally dense than Miller’s article.
Vitamin D and Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals
Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) in our environment are xenobiotic chemicals made by human beings which are totally unnatural and injurious to human health. EDCs now number upwards of 85,000 different kinds of chemicals which were largely introduced in the ecosystem in the post WWII period. Very few of them have been studied for toxicity.
These chemicals negatively affect the activity of vitamin D. Here is a link to a writing which explains this negative effect, and describes some preventative steps you can begin to incorporate.
More on Vitamin D Receptors (VDRs)
For most of the past century it was thought that vitamin D’s primary function was to facilitate calcium absorption and help prevent osteopenia and osteoporosis. In recent decades it has been discovered that all cells in the body have Vitamin D Receptors, and that vitamin D controls and regulates nearly 300 genes.
Vitamin D affects your DNA through VDR’s by binding to specific locations of the human genome. Many of the genes controlled by vitamin D are genes which regulate our immune system. Thus, vitamin D is a critical nutrient for immune system health and function.
As stated above, about 50% of people have heterozygous (41%) or homozygous (9%) mutations of their VDR genetic allele sites. This issue is pretty common therefore, and it will result in a down-regulated VDR. In such cases, the vitamin D dosing will need to by higher, and may possibly need to be in supra-physiologic dosing ranges, particularly if the individual becomes ill.
One’s VDR status can be checked by a variety of labs which offer this service in their genetic testing packages. As mentioned above, one such offering is from www.23andMe.com. Here one can learn about mutations one may have at 195 gene sites which control enzyme and receptor functions in the areas of detoxification, neurotransmitters, methylation, cardiovascular, digestive, endocrine, vitamin function, mineral receptors, and antioxidant functions. This study also gives information relevant to the other fat soluble vitamins.
Our primary source of vitamin D is from sunlight as ultraviolet rays from sunlight create a chemical cascade in the skin which converts cholesterol to vitamin D. However, as mentioned above, most people do not get enough direct sunlight to produce adequate levels of vitamin D. According to Dr. Michael Holick, another prominent vitamin D researcher, “Vitamin D is not only the most common nutritional deficiency in the world, it is also the most common medical condition, affecting over 1 billion people.”
Some Sources of Vitamin D
Vitamin D may be accrued from one’s diet from a range of healthy and common types of foods. The best food sources for vitamin D may be seen in this rather extensive listing of foods which contain vitamin D.
Most of the foods mentioned in this long list are generally good foods to consume. An exception to this statement is the consideration of tuna and mackerel which will have higher levels of organic mercury which will contribute to mercury toxicity. About 40% of people have mutation based deficiencies in a liver enzyme known as CPOX4 which involves mercury detoxification and its behavioral effects on the central nervous system.
Designs for Health has vitamin D compounded in several different forms and strengths. It is in all of their multivitamin combinations in above average dosing. For instance, their DFH Complete Multi contains 1000 I.U. per dosing of 6 capsules. This is the best routine daily multivitamin that I have found, and this level of vitamin D in a potent multivitamin is much better than the rest of the multivitamins on the market.
In addition, DFH offers the following stronger Vitamin D compounding. The first 4 capsule forms are dosing strengths per capsule:
- Vitamin D Synergy, 2000 I.U., with 200 micrograms of Vitamin K1
- Vitamin D Supreme, 5000 I.U., with 550 micrograms of Vitamin K1 and Vitamin K2
- Vitamin D Complex, 2000 I.U., with 5000 I.U. Vitamin A, 50 milligrams Vitamin E (mixed tocopherols), and 525 mcg. Vitamins K1 and K2
- Vitamin D Ultra, 10,000 I.U., with 220 mcg. Vitamin K1 and K2
- Emulsi-D3, 20 oz. bottle, 1 ml. (via dropper) contains 2000 IU Vitamin D, 250 mcg. Vitamin K1 and 25 mcg. of Vitamin K2
Vitamin D and vitamin K2 work as a team, and both are essential for optimal bone and arterial health as well as for maintaining the immune system in proper balance. An important Journal writing on the health benefits of vitamin K2 was presented on 2-14-15, and may be seen here. Vitamin K2 deficiency is possibly more prevalent than vitamin D deficiency.
The US government recommendations for daily vitamin D, which are established by the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB), are as follows:
- Children and adults up to age 70 – 600 IU/day
- Seniors 70 and older – 800 IU/day
The US government’s recommendations are far too low. Studies suggest that for proper functioning, a healthy human utilizes approximately 3,000 to 5,000 IU of vitamin D per day. The real need will usually be a higher dosing than this per individual lifestyle, absorption ability, and VDR genetic status.
In the clients which I dose with 5000 IU per day, the optimal blood level of Vitamin D3 of 80-100 nanograms/milliliter (ng./ml.) usually requires dosing even higher than 10,000 IU per day. Such dosing is entirely safe in anyone who does not have compromise of liver function.
Vitamin D Doses for Children:
In the absence of proper daily sun exposure, the vitamin D Council makes the following recommendations for children. Keep in mind that there are numerous variables and individual differences, so these recommendations are only estimates:
- Healthy children under the age of 1 year of age: 1,000 IU/day
- Healthy children over the age of 1 year: 1,000 IU for every 25 pounds of body weight
Dosing of Vitamin D is made very easy with the pleasant tasting Emulsi-D3 liquid dropper dispenser referenced above.
Over the past 10 years the research on vitamin D has mounted into a convincing body of information to support the use of this vitamin hormone for everyone in our society. Its myriad positive health effects speak well for its broad usage in a society plagued with the very diseases it prevents. Please note this important consideration…vitamin D must be taken in conjunction with vitamin K2 to prevent calcium deposition in arteries and joints and other tissues. Please see my writing on Vitamin K2.
In light of the fact that most of our population is deficient in vitamin D, we should regard vitamin D as one of the most important nutrient deficiency present. And, because VDR mutations are so common, vitamin D deficiency is one of the most important nutrient deficiencies to correct.
More and more people will move into a preventative and holistic health approach as the medical, pharmaceutical, insurance, and governmental “health” programs continue to bumble along.
Without any equivocation whatsoever, I believe that the conventional medical industry poses great risks to our health. this industry has not yet learned how to work well in accordance with natural chemistry and healing.
Is it any wonder that more and more people are learning about how to support their own natural healing intelligence?
Signing off from Crestone and Beyond
Other Helpful References:
- Your Personal Genetic Analysis…a writing on this website about genetic testing and its utility
- Vitamin K2…a writing one this website about this important vitamin
- Low vitamin D levels during pregnancy may be linked to an increased risk of ADHD
- Seven signs that you may be vitamin D deficient
- Vitamin D resource page
- Vitamin D for public health
- Low vitamin D levels increase risk of relapse in patients with chronic ulcerative colitis
- Vitamin D Is More Effective Than Flu Vaccine, Study Says
- Higher Vitamin D Levels Lower Cancer Risk
- Lab confirms vitamin D deficiency link to autism traits