Vitamin D Deficiency and Sources

Medical journals worldwide show that we’re not getting enough Vitamin D for even basic functions, let alone therapeutic benefits. Pregnant women and their breastfed babies are deficient. More than a third (36%) of healthy young adults are low even by the paltry levels that are now considered a minimum.   Perhaps as much as 80% of those with chronic illnesses are deficient. Scientists have now calculated: If all Germans over the age of 50 were to take vitamin D supplements, up to 30,000 cancer deaths per year could possibly be avoided and more than 300,000 years of life could be gained – in addition, health care costs could be saved. Read about that.

Even people living in sunny US states can have low blood levels and those with dark skin are at greater risk. (Some may be low because they do not have the magnesium and vitamin K2 and other nutrients required for absorption and usability.) Insufficient sun exposure is one factor, but there are other possible issues:

  • With exposure to sunlight, the body makes vitamin D from a cholesterol layer under skin.
  • That initial form, calcidiol, is stored in liver during the summer and can be drawn on in the winter when there is less sun.
  • Then calcidiol (and Cholecalciferol from supplements) go to the kidneys, where they are converted to the active form, calcitriol. Zinc is needed for that conversion. Fucoidan (a seaweed extract) helps that conversion as does forskolin from coleus which can double D levels. (Avoid Forskolin if you take a blood thinner.) Also, for conversion, the kidneys need to be working well. See below.*
  • Once converted, the active forms goes into the blood stream and is delivered to cells. However, getting into the cells isn’t automatic. Polyphenols (think resveratrol, quercitin, catekin, fisitin and cinnamon) sensitize the receptors.

The mineral magnesium is important to the whole vitamin D system. Deficiency of magnesium can lead to deficiency of D. This well-researched article by Bill Sardi covers the controversy as of September 2019.

Sources. We always prefer to get our nutrients from food, but that wasn’t the plan with vitamin D because food is a poor source. Some vitamin D naturally occurs in eggs, fatty fish, and of course cod liver oil. The amount of vitamin D3 added to milk is small and many adults avoid milk for health reasons. That means most people who do not have sufficient sun exposure will need to take vitamin D3 supplements.

Watch a fascinating interview with Dr Bruce W Hollis on the history of Vitamin D research and how they found out that high doses during pregnancy (far from being toxic) prevented birth complications like preterm births.