When I was 10 years young I fell off a jungle gym and fractured my right arm. It wasn’t a big fall and I shouldn’t have broken any bones but I suspect my Vitamin D levels weren’t optimal. I was living in a suburb of Chicago at the time and the weather was often overcast. My parents cared for my skin by applying sunscreen, but this didn’t help my Vitamin D levels.
If you’ve ever broken a bone or felt blue during winter then you know what I’m referring to in my subject line.
There are two forms of Vitamin D; ergocalciferol (vitamin D2) and cholecalciferol (vitamin D3). It used to be thought that they were interchangeable but that was based on research done 70+ years ago on infants and Rickets (the childhood Vitamin D deficiency disease that causes soft bones prone to fractures and deformities). Science has proven that Vitamin D3 is the preferred form for humans.
Did you know that Vitamin D3 helps move calcium into your bones and teeth so they remain sturdy and strong? It actually helps regulate calcium and phosphorus in your blood.
Here is a list of things that Vitamin D can help you prevent:
- Type 1 Diabetes
- Cardiovascular disease including heart attack
- High blood pressure (Vit. D 3 decreases the production of Renin, a hormone believed to play a role in hypertension)
- Cancers of colon, prostate, ovaries, esophagus, and lymphatic system.
- Muscle and bone pain
- Broken bones
- Osteoporosis and low calcium absorption
- Autoimmune diseases such as Hoshimotos Thyroiditis, Multiple Sclerosis, Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Allergies (Vit. D 3 helps regulate your immune system)
- Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Vitamin D3 does impacts your brain too.
It helps regulate the conversion of tryptophan to serotonin. I don’t want to get too technical on you but this is important for you to know.
Serotonin is the neurotransmitter that affects a variety of cognitive functions including mood, decision-making, social behavior, impulsive behavior, and social decision-making. Many disorders associated to brain chemistry and function, such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD), ADHD, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression, commonly have low brain serotonin. Even Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is positively impacted by taking Vit. D 3.
Vitamin D 3 is known as the Sunshine Vitamin but did you know it isn’t technically a vitamin because your body can produce it on it’s own with a little help from the sun.
Don’t be fooled, most people can’t get enough Vitamin D3 from the sun.
Here’s what you need to do:
1. Sit naked in the sun for at least 25 minutes per day, if you have dark skin you need longer.
2. Don’t bathe for 24-48 hours after sun exposure. Bathing stops the vital chemical reaction on the skin that is converting the sunlight into Vitamin D 3 for you.
3. Don’t use any sunscreen, lotions or potions on your skin before or right after sunbathing.
4. Ensure that your body is efficiently doing all the chemical conversions to make Vitamin D3 for you.
5. Live in a sunny place with few clouds, haze and pollution. (Any Northern state with less sun exposure has higher rates of certain kinds of cancers linked to low Vitamin D 3.
If that sounds impractical it’s because it is.
I’ve always heard that you get Vitamin D from the sun. Well this isn’t exactly true.
There is a three phases process for the conversion of Vitamin D3 from the sun to your skin and then your entire body.
Here is how it works:
1)Ultraviolet B rays from the sun convert a precursor in your skin (7-dehydrocholesterol) into Vitamin D 3.
2)Next the liver gets involved, here the D3 mixes with oxygen and hydrogen to change it into 25-hydroxyvitamin D. This is what most doctors test your blood for but it is still the inactive form of Vitamin D. I like to test both when possible.
3)The third and final step occurs in the kidneys, where more oxygen and hydrogen molecules attache to 25-hydroxyvitamin D and convert it into it’s active form known as 1,25 dihydroxyvitamin D, or calcitriol.
I love to find the most beneficial and natural way to work with the human body and mind.
Sun exposure is helpful but often simply not enough. Please consider taking a daily dose of a good quality Vitamin D3 without toxic additives or rancid/poor quality oils like soy.
There are a few on the market that have a very healthy carrier oil called Medium Chain Triglycerides. Look for this in your supplement. Dosing of Vitamin D3 depends on your weight and current Vitamin D3 status. Children need less than adults. Some doctors believe an adult dose of 2000 IU/day is adequate, others promote 5000 IU/day.
Two of my favorite brands are Liqua-D by Apex Energetics, and D3-K2 Nanoemulsified by Quicksilver Scientific. Read dosing carefully as one drop of Liqua-D contains 2000 IU of Vit D 3, you may need 1-4 drops a day depending on your current Vitamin D 3 status.
To get the most out of taking your Vitamin D3 you also need to consider important mineral cofactors that support your body to utilize the D3 properly. These are Magnesium, Boron and Zinc.
Magnesium is necessary for your body to make energy from the food you eat, controlling your blood pressure, controlling blood sugar levels and keeping your heart beating regularly.
The Vitamin D Council believes that the daily amounts of magnesium recommended by the Food and Nutrition Board aren’t enough to keep your body healthy and supplementation is recommended. Some research studies show that your body needs between 500 and 700 mg a day.I like Natural Vitality Magnesium Calm product for supplementation. Excessive use can cause diarrhea.
Magnesium is important in order for your body to use vitamins and other minerals, such as calcium, phosphorus, sodium, potassium, and vitamin D
Zinc is a mineral found mainly in your muscles and bones. It helps your body perform many vital functions such as:
-fighting infection and healing wounds.
-helping your body to make new cells and substances called enzymes.
-helping your body to use the carbohydrate, fat and protein in food.
-growth and development – so it’s vital to get enough during pregnancy, childhood and adolescence.
-your sense of taste and smell.
Zinc isn’t stored in your body so you need to eat foods that contain it or supplement daily. Zinc helps Vitamin D work in your cells and helps strengthen and develop your bones. Oysters have a high concentration of zinc. If you are taking any medications that are intended to suppress your immune system consult your doctor before taking zinc.
Boron is a trace mineral that you need in small amounts. Fruits, leafy vegetables and nuts contain boron. This trace mineral works with Vitamin D to help your bones use the minerals they need such as calcium.
Most doctors order 25 dihydroxyvitamin D but this is the inactive form and may not be accurate. Get your Calcitriol 1,25 dihydroxyvitamin D blood levels checked and ask your doctor to recommend an appropriate dose of Vitamin D3 for supplementation.
A healthy Vit D blood level is about 45-75 ng/mL, depending on your unique biological needs. The Vitamin D counsel recommends an average of 50 ng/mL. I’ve learned to individualize things, some people do better with Vit. D levels that are 75, and others lower. People with known autoimmunity, immune dysfunction or living in Northers states should have their levels tested regularly.
Vitamin D3 levels that are too low or too high are unhealthy.
Vitamin D3 is fat soluble so your body doesn’t quickly get rid of it if you take too much. This can lead to high levels of calcium in your blood known as hypercalcemia. Symptoms may include:
- feeling sick or being sick
- poor appetite or loss of appetite
- feeling very thirsty
- passing urine often
- constipation or diarrhea
- abdominal pain
- muscle weakness or pain
- feeling confused
- feeling tired
High levels of Vitamin D3, without the proper balance of minerals and vitamins can lead to toxicity. Vitamin K2 and Vitamin A protect us from the toxic effects of Vitamin D3.
First, Vitamin K2 which is linked to healthy cardiovascular system and discourages the build-up of calcium plaques in the arteries.
Patients with osteoporosis have also been found to have high levels of calcium plaques that impaired arterial blood flow. This is known as the Calcium Paradox where one part of the body has too much calcium (the artieries) and another part of the body is deficient (the bones). This is due to a lack of Vitamin K2.
Not only can calcification of the arteries be prevented but reversed with daily Vitamin K2 supplementation.
You do get Vitamin K1 from leafy greens but the conversion to Vitamin K2 is ineffective. The sources highest in this Vitamin K1 are kale, spinach, mustard greens, collard greens, beet greens, swiss chard, turnip greens and broccoli. Vitamin K2 is only found in certain foods such as organ meats or natto made from fermented soybeans. The bacteria, Bacillus natto, actually helps convert K1 to K2.
If you are a science geek then you will appreciate this: There are two particular subtypes of Vitamin K2 called MK-4 and MK-7 (‘M’ stands for menaquinone, the scientific name for K2. The 4 is a short-chain and 7 is a long chain, both stand for the number of molecular units attached to a carbon tail), which appear to be taken up by our bone cells in preference to other subtypes.
Vitamin K helps make blood clotting proteins that we need.
People who are taking anti-coagulant medication need to consult
their doctor if they plan to increase their dietary intake of Vitamin K with either foods or supplementation.
Next, Vitamin A is necessary for good eyesight, to help you fight infection and to keep your skin and mucous membranes healthy.
You must have the right proportions of Vitamin D3 and Vitamin A, too much of A without enough D means it won’t work for you. They work together to support healthy genes.
That was a lot of information but I believe it’s important for you to be an informed consumer.
A balanced diet and sunshine is import for your overall health but also please consider getting your Calcitriol 1,25 dihydroxyvitamin D blood levels checked so you know if you need to supplement with Vitamin D3 as well as the necessary cofactors that make it work properly in your body.
Improve your mood, bone density and strength, and your immune system with one simple supplement, Vit. D 3.
Blessings of Vibrant Health,
Kristin Grayce McGary
Health and Lifestyle Alchemist
Kristin Grayce McGary weaves 20 years of experience, education, and wisdom with profound compassion to provide you with individualized, empowered, and holistic opportunities to heal on all levels. She is a passionate and dynamic teacher who truly embodies her work. She artfully blends healing modalities to guide you on a transformative path to optimal health