Hi, Dr. Toni Harrison here. I wanted to talk today about vitamin D levels. Vitamin D is actually not a vitamin, it’s misnamed. It’s actually a hormone. Vitamins are things that your body can’t produce on their own, and that you need to acquire from your food supply. Your skin actually produces vitamin D on its own in response to the sunlight. Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin, and so what happens is when your skin is exposed to the sun, it produces the vitamin D in your sweat, and then it takes hours for that to get absorbed through the skin.
Our society now is vitamin D deficient. Reason being is that we spend so much time indoors and clothed, we’re not running around naked like our ancestors were. We also tend to wear sunscreen. And even if we do spend a day at the beach, as soon as we get inside, we tend to take as shower and get rid of all that beautiful vitamin D that our skin has produced. Because like I said, it takes hours for it to absorb through the skin into your bloodstream.
Every cell on your body has a receptor for vitamin D. It’s needed in a lot of different functions in the body. If your vitamin D deficient, your intestines can’t absorb the calcium. So, no matter how much calcium you take, you’re just not going to absorb it well without a good vitamin D level. Some adults, especially in the winter, their production of vitamin D actually ceases completely. And as we age, our store of vitamin D declines. So, a lot of our middle aged and elderly folk especially are vitamin D deficient.
There is no safe upper limit for vitamin D levels, it’s somewhat controversial. I’ve seen it suggested that the upper safe limit is around 88 nanograms per ML. when your body will do everything it can to maintain a consistent level of calcium in your bloodstream, in the serum. Calcium is important in a lot of different chemical reactions in the body. And if your body is not absorbing the calcium through your food or your supplements, then your body will take that calcium from the bone. And that leads to a lot of osteopenia and osteoporosis. If the serum calcium is low, it’ll increase the parathyroid hormone in order to start leeching the calcium out of your bones.
Vitamin D3 supplementation is a more efficient way to increase your vitamin D levels than D2. So, you want to look for vitamin D3 if you can.
When we become vitamin D deficient, that can lead to muscle weakness and falls, which again is really important in our elderly population. A fall in an elderly person leads to significant morbidity and mortality. So, it’s important that they are able to maintain their muscle strength and balance.
Vitamin D deficiency has been linked with all kinds of different diseases, which goes back to the idea that there’s a vitamin D receptor on every cell in your body. So, some of the diseases that it’s been linked with are difficulty walking, falls, muscles weakness like we just talked about. Nearly all cancers, especially colon caner. There’s also a link with breast cancer. But nearly all cancers have been linked with low vitamin D levels. Type one and type two diabetes, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, auto immune diseases in general. Asthma, eczema, obesity, infections, tuberculosis. It’s thought that one of the reasons why sunlight therapy was so effective prior to the age of antibiotics was the ability to increase the vitamin D levels.
Upper respiratory infections, high blood pressure, cardiac events like MI and congestive heart failure, heart attacks. Depression, Alzheimers disease. So, as you can see, all types of different disease processes are linked to vitamin D.
In severe vitamin D deficiency, D3 supplementation along with calcium can have marked increases in bone mineral density, which may make the need for osteoporosis therapy less likely. Treatment of celiac disease with gluten free diet can result in a significant improvement in bone mineral density. The reason being that once your gut heals, you’re able to absorb the vitamin D and the calcium from your diet.
The Endocrine Society guidelines are 2,000 international units per day of vitamin D3, to maintain a serum level of 30 nanograms per CC. Personally, I think that that goal is too low. I think you should shoot for around 50 to 60 nanograms per ML. but even the Endocrine Society has acknowledged that we need a vitamin D3 supplementation. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology has recently recommended that vitamin D3 supplementation be added to prenatal vitamins.
So, they’ve gotten on board with the idea that vitamin D3 is important. So, if you’re looking for help with your management of diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, depression, osteoporosis, cancer prevention, multiple sclerosis. So many different reasons to be taking vitamin D3.
If you have any questions, feel free to contact us on our website, incredible-health.com. Or, you can call our office, 480-418-3678. Thanks.