It seems like everyone is figuring out they are Vitamin D deficient. I myself found that I was below the normal level. When my doctor suggested I get tested, I said, “I doubt I’m low, I’m in the sun everyday”. He said, “You’d be surprised, it’s rare for me to find someone who isn’t low.”
Turns out he was right, I was so deficient in fact, that I started out taking 50,000 units per week right of the bat!!
Vitamin D has many roles in the body and is essential for optimal health.
Why are we deficient though?
Well it turns out there are several factors, one or two of which may have not considered.
You probably know that we get Vitamin D by being in the sun and even from some foods. The top Vitamin D rich foods include mushrooms, egg yolks, fatty fish (tuna, mackerel, salmon), beef liver and cheese.
If you are missing direct sunlight, to your bare skin (to optimize your exposure to sun and find out when solar noon is in your area, try the “DMINDER” app.), and don’t eat enough Vitamin D rich foods, you will be more susceptible to deficiency.
But here’s something you may not of known…..
We do in fact produce Vitamin D when our skin is exposed to sunlight. Our body makes Vitamin D from cholesterol. This happens when the ultraviolet B (UVB) rays hit cholesterol in the skin cells, which provides energy for Vitamin D synthesis.
However, there are a few factors that can interrupt this process.
First, when we have a genetic variation in our VDR receptor, which is our Vitamin D receptor.
Second, when we have an imbalance in our gut microbiome
We have Vitamin D receptors throughout our body… from our skin to our bones and even our muscles, immune system, endocrine system and throughout our body because it is that important!!!
If we have a genetic variation on our VDR receptor we are not able to absorb Vitamin D like we are supposed to.
And guess what, in our gut (where 80% of our immunity lives) when we have an imbalance, like a pathogen overgrowth, we can’t absorb Vitamin D either. And these days, with all the antibiotics going around, our guts are taking hits. Here’s the thing, when we are low in vitamin D, we are more susceptible to “leaky gut” or ‘gut permeability” which is a precursor to many diseases. Vitamin D and gut issues both contribute to a variety of diseases.
So what can we do?
We can first, test our Vitamin D level, 25-OH, and see if we are low. Then we know if we need to take a good quality supplement. The normal range is considered 50-70ng/ml but some practitioners will recommend higher than 70ng/ml.
If you need to supplement, it has Vitamin D3 + K2. This is because D3 is more absorbable than D2 and the K2 is a cofactor that helps the Vitamin D absorb as well. Other cofactors to consider are Magnesium, Zinc and Calcium. Discuss this with your practitioner to find one that is right for you.
But what about the root cause for why you are low?
You can easily test if you have a genetic abnormality. When I have done this, I used the 23&Me results to upload to software that decodes the genetic variations, also known as SNP’s (single nucleotide polymorphisms). I have tried a few different companies, but the one I found most helpful is “Metabolic Healing” site where you can get a nutrigenomic report almost instantly.
This is helpful information for so many reasons because you get information for several common SNP’s that may be affecting your health and will have more information to make informed decisions.
What if you don’t have a VDR variation though. Whether you do or do not, you may consider testing your gut. This can offer you another possible root cause for low Vitamin D.
This is where you will need a practitioner to help you order testing. Find one that can help you interpret stool and metabolite tests to truly see what imbalances you have and what to do about it. It has been shown that supplementing Vitamin D can help gut imbalance and in turn, the lining of your gut. I recommend the GI-MAP or Gut Zoomer for stool testing and the OAT’s for urine metabolites. A Functional Medicine Practitioner should be able to order for you.
So, that’s a lot of information that will help you better solve some of your health issues. Leave a comment if you have any questions.
3. Enterotypes of the Human Gut Microbiome
Bacteroides (Clostidiales, Rosburia and Lactobacillus), Prevotella (Staphylococcus, E. coli, Shigella, Desulfovibrio, Ruminocococaceae, Leuconostoc) and Ruminococcus (Staphylococcus and Akkermansia)
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5. NLRP1 restricts butyrate producing commensals to exacerbate inflammatory bowel disease
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