I had the priveledge to attend a summit where Dr Michael Holick Phd, MD was speaking on vitamin D. You might be saying “who the heck is that??” Well he is the Dr/scientist who discovered D25-OH and heloed develop a test for it. This is the active form of vitamin D, the form that matters! His test is now the gold standard for checking your vitamin D status. Everyone knows that vitamin D is important. Its been a hot topic lately but there is a lot of misinformation out there and what better way to set the record striaght then to go straight to the horse’s mouth!
Did you you know that 40% of people are vitamin D deficient? Even levels that are considered normal may not be normal for you. Everyone is different and functions differently on different levels of vitamin D, but Dr. Holick likes to see his patients at a blood level of 40ng/mL. To give you an example of controlling vitamin D about 100iu of vitamin D in your diet equates to 1ng/mL in your blood. To achieve optimal levels Dr. Holick has his patients take a large initial dose to “fill up the bank” and then take 5000iu every two weeks for the rest of your life. Contrary to common belief it is very hard to overdose on vitamin D. Although it is fat soluable it does not build up easily and he noted that only 1 patient he had developed toxicity after mistakenly taking 1 million iu every day for a year. The patient was easily resolved of symptoms when he discontinued the vitamin D. He has also studied his patients who are on his recommendation and after years of this dosage blood levels stayed at 40 and no toxicity was noted. Since i am breastfeeding i personally take 5000iu daily to keep the levels up in my breastmilk for my nursling. The 40-60 range is recommended and safe up to 100ng/mL. Toxicity happens at 150ng/mL.
Another misconception is that vitamin D is low in breastmilk. It’s only lacking if the mothers vitamin D is lacking. There is no need to supplement if the mothers status is appropriate. Here is a link to a study done on this: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17661565
If you do supplement here are the recommendations:
Obese people should take 2-3times the reccommended level. Even at small doses the body is very efficient at using vitamin D, but to get above a level of 20 you need 100iu per every 1ng/ml.
Another misconception is that vitamin D2 is not as good as vitamin D3. Vitamin D2 in studies are shown to be just as good as D3 at raising blood levels.
So lets talk about how vitamin is created and works. First vitamin D is either produced by the skin cells or is taken in through diet by food or vitamins. Wild salmon, cod liver oil, and mushrooms that are exposed to light are dietary sources. Did you know that latitude makes a huge difference in how much vitamin d your producing? If you live above Atlanta Georgia you wont produce vitamin D from November to about March or April. Outside of those months the times you need sun exposure are between 10am and 3pm.
Here are some other things that effect vitamin D: Sunscreen reduces 97-98% of vitamin D production, people of color need to be in the sun 3 to 5 times longer, prednisone destroys vitamin d, AIDs medications, antiseizure meds, and gastric bypass.
So why is vitamin D so important? Did you know that there is a receptor for vitamin D in every cell? This vitamin regulates 2000 genes, affects immune cells, mood stability, and brain health. It even alters nuerotransmission and helps with serotonin production. It plays a critical role in regulating the immune system.Wheezing disorders, preeclampsia, chronic diseases, asthma, dental caries, bone health, type 1 and 2 diabetes, crohn’s, cancers and neurocognitivedisorders, osteomalasia, infectious disease, and nuerocognitive disfunction have all been associated with vitamin D deficiency. In the immune system resting b and t lymphocytes when activated have d receptors and the vitamin d regulates antibody production and down regulates autoantibody production. Macrophages are cells that ingest bacteria and tells other cells to activate vitamin d to develop a specific chemical to kill invaders. Vitamin D also modulates cytokine production of t cells. So in other words Vitamin D is very important in many aspects of our immune system helping it function appropriately!
A Finnish study where 2000iu were given to infants a day followed for 31 years reduced type one diabetes by 88%. If you live near the equator you have a lower chance of type 1 diabetes than if you live north or south of the equator. In a brazil study giving MS patients extremely high vitamin d and low calcium helped these patients heal from ms. They were wheelchair bound and blind and after these doses regained sight and the ability to walk. Of course more studies need to be done but this just showcases what a star player vitamin D is.
So the takeaway from this is to get your vitamin D level checked and try to get your levels between 40-60. Keep in mind if you have any conditions that may effect your vitamin d absorbtion and work with your practitioner to adjust accordingly. DR. Holick has an app called Dminder you can download to help you figure out your vitamin d status. And lastly did you know topical steroidal use permenantly thins your skin? Well vitamin D placed in these areas can reverse this effect. So go out and get some sun at the appropriate times and make some vitamin D!