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Falling Vitamin D Levels & What to Do About This Global Health Crisis

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What are the causes of vitamin D deficiency and why is this something you need to be concerned about? Vitamin D may be one of the most important hormonal substances for your body. Not just for your muscular-skeletal system, but to help prevent a long list of chronic conditions including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, allergies, depression, Alzheimer’s, autoimmune conditions, and even cancer. And here’s the sad and potentially dangerous reality… vitamin D levels have reached an all-time low. Not just in the United States, but worldwide – even in climates with plenty of sunshine year round!

Vitamin D Levels Are Decreasing

A 2009 study reported on vitamin D levels in the U.S. for both men and women from 1988 – 2004. The report was assembled by researchers from the University of Colorado, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and Harvard Medical School and published in the prestigious medical journal, the Archives of Internal Medicine. In particular, the researchers looked at statistics from the U.S. government’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

They found that the number of Americans who had vitamin D levels which were “sufficient for overall health” was roughly 45% in the late 1980s. Granted, this is not the greatest percentage, but it still meant that close to half of all Americans has sufficient amounts of vitamin D in their system at that time.

The shocker came when the researchers analyzed the numbers for 2004. A mere 16 years later, the percentage of Americans of all ages who had adequate vitamin D levels had been cut almost in half to only 23%.

The story is the same globally. According to a 2015 report published by the University College of Medical Sciences at Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital in Delhi, India: “High rates of biochemical vitamin D deficiency or insufficiency among healthy individuals have been reported in large-scale studies from all parts of the world – the United States, Canada, South America, Europe, Australia, the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa. Severe vitamin D deficiency is common in China, India, South America, and the Middle East…”

Who Determines How Much Vitamin D You Need?

The cutoff which defines vitamin D deficiency varies greatly between studies, and has even undergone some controversy in recent years. In 2015, UC San Diego and Creighton University challenged the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Institute of Medicine (IOM), claiming that their Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for vitamin D, which has become the standard in the United States, was off by more than a factor of ten.

While the NAS states that 600 IU/day through age 70 (and 800 IU/day for those older than 70) will suffice for health, the UCSD and Creighton researchers both state that the RDA should be more along the lines of 7,000 IU/day (which would maintain roughly 60 ng/ml vitamin D in the blood).

While some experts and institutions warn of adverse effects of raising vitamin D levels past 50, other studies verify the potential healing power of higher amounts of vitamin D. For instance, a 2014 University of California, San Diego breast cancer study published in the journal of the American Association for Cancer Research found that when vitamin D blood levels in the blood were raised to 50ng/ml from 25ng/ml, there was a corresponding 83% reduction in breast cancer. Similar results were discovered for colon cancer in lower amounts (but still at amounts that exceeded the NAS Recommended Daily Allowance).

benefits of vitamin D supplementation

Vitamin D Deficiency Causes

There are certain genetic conditions which can cause malabsorption of vitamin D. In particular, researchers at the Technical University of Denmark found that two genes − CYP2R1 and GC—may influence how much vitamin D remains in a person’s system.

The worldwide pandemic of vitamin D deficiency is not caused by genes alone, however. For the majority of people, lifestyle − including lack of sunlight exposure and poor dietary choices − is what causes severe vitamin D deficiency and its sometimes life-threatening consequences.

Can You Make Enough Vitamin D From Sun Exposure?

In reality, vitamin D is not a vitamin. It is a steroid hormone with the ability to affect over 100 genetic functions in the body, not the least of which is bone development and calcium absorption. When the skin is exposed to the ultraviolet (UVB) rays of the sun, it causes a chemical reaction. Pro-hormones in the skin, specifically a form of cholesterol called 7-dehydrocholesterol (7-DHC), absorb the UVB, causing them to convert into cholecalciferol, or vitamin D3 (which we will talk about more in the next section).

Everyone is different, and so are the variables that contribute to how much sun exposure is healthy for each person. According to the National Institutes of Health, between 5 and 30 minutes of “unprotected” sun on as much of your bare skin as possible during peak sunlight hours (i.e. as close to midday as possible), should be enough to produce adequate amounts of vitamin D3.

Yet how many of us are really able to go out in the sun for a half an hour every day? According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Americans spend about 97% of their time indoors, either inside their homes, in their offices or in the car. When most individuals do go outside, they are more likely to limit their sun exposure by wearing sunscreen (which comes with its own toxic hazards) or not sitting directly in the sun at all for fear of skin cancer.

This modern trend is proving to be detrimental to vitamin D levels worldwide, and to health. It is estimated that we should be able to get about 90% of our vitamin D from sun exposure. However, even if we were able to get the recommended daily allowance of sun exposure every day, this amount may not be enough to restore already-existing deficiencies. Kidney imbalance, gut-related conditions, toxin overload, and liver conditions such as fatty liver may affect absorption and conversion. For many people, sun exposure simply is not enough to ensure healthy, normal vitamin D levels.

Can You Get Sufficient Vitamin D From Food?

Are you able to achieve normal vitamin D levels through diet? Well, yes and no. There are a few foods, such as salmon and tuna, eggs, and fortified dairy, which contain vitamin D. And there may have been a time when the 10% of necessary vitamin D that did not come from sunlight could potentially come from the natural food we ate.

But because of the increasing rate of chronic conditions effecting the gut and detoxification pathways in our modern world, however, food as a substantial supplemental source of vitamin D may be a thing of the past.

Remember that substance called cholecalciferol mentioned before? That is really a “previtamin” form of D3. Before it can be converted into a form of vitamin D that can help the body, this previtamin must travel to the liver, where it will be metabolized and turned into 25-hydroxyvitamin D or 25(OH)D. This is where the kidneys come into play. They are needed to convert 25(OH)D into 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D or 25(OH)2D, the form of vitamin D that your body can finally use.

As you can see, there are a LOT of functions involved in the process of converting and utilizing the steroid hormone vitamin D. And most of these functions require a healthy digestive system as well as healthy detoxification pathways in the form of the liver and kidneys. In a world where both kidney and liver disease as well as digestive imbalance is on the rise, there are a lot of places where problems can arise.

Case in point: roughly 20% of American adults and 10% of American children now have non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which is linked to obesity and high fructose corn syrup in particular. Fatty liver disease is a precursor to cirrhosis of the liver and can significantly effect the ability of this organ to metabolize vitamin D.

When Are Vitamin D Supplements Necessary?

Most experts agree that it is a good idea in general to get your vitamin D levels checked by a qualified lab and consult with your doctor before engaging in vitamin D supplementation. For more and more individuals who are depleted in this essential hormone, however, vitamin D supplementation just makes sense.

According to the Vitamin D Council, vitamin D supplementation may be beneficial for autoimmune disease, chronic pain, high blood pressure and possibly even for preventing autism. And a Canadian study found a 60 percent reduction in cancer overall with the use of vitamin D. Finally, a 2014 University of South Florida College of Medicine study reported that: “vitamin D may be an effective agent to reduce obesity-associated cancer risks in women.”

Choosing the Best Vitamin D Supplement For Your Health Needs

The kind of supplement you choose is as important as your choice to supplement with vitamin D. Make sure your vitamin D supplement is in a bio-available form of vitamin D3, ideally with supplemental substances such as immune-boosters, detoxification aids, and vitamin K2 so that the vitamin D3 you take in has the best chance of doing its job.

Don’t be among the seventy-five percent of Americans − and the majority of the world population − that succumbs to the devastating effects of chronic Vitamin D deficiency. Be smart and pro-active. Find out your D levels and then take action to get adequate sunlight exposure and eat to support your gut health and detoxification pathways. Then, if you need to, choose a quality super-supplement that can not only balance your D3 levels but also ensure that what Vitamin D3 you do take in gets processed by your body in the most efficient way possible for optimal health and disease prevention.

Tumeric 3D from Organixx combines fermented Vitamin D3 with the anti-inflammatory and immune system-boosting properties of curcumin (from a fermented version of the Indian spice turmeric) with the adaptogen Ashwagandha as well as ginger, fulvic acid, and Turkey Tail mushroom to increase the absorbency of your Vitamin D3 exponentially.

 

Sources:

  1. Demographic Differences and Trends of Vitamin D Insufficiency in the US Population, 1988-2004
  2. Vitamin D Deficiency: Is The Pandemic for Real?
  3. Vitamin D Deficiency: A Worldwide Problem with Health Consequences
  4. The Vitamin D Deficiency Pandemic: a Forgotten Hormone Important for Health
  5. Is Vitamin D Deficiency a Major Global Public Health Problem?
  6. Letter to Veugelers, P.J. and Ekwaru, J.P., A Statistical Error in the Estimation of the Recommended Dietary Allowance for Vitamin D. Nutrients 2014, 6, 4472–4475; doi:10.3390/nu6104472
  7. Can Vitamin D Levels be Determined by Genes?
  8. Meta-analysis of Risk Factors for Cutaneous Melanoma: II. Sun Exposure
  9. Vitamin D Insufficiency/Deficiency in Gastrointestinal Disorders
  10. Breast Cancer Risk According to Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D: Meta-analysis of Dose-response
  11. National Institutes of Health: Vitamin D
  12. Fatty Liver Disease: Killer Most People Don’t Know About
  13. Vitamin D Council- Health Conditions
  14. EPA Indoor Air Quality
  15. Vitamin D: A Rapid Review
  16. Vitamin D and Calcium Supplementation Reduces Cancer Risk: Results of a Randomized Trial
  17. Canadian Cancer Society Vitamin D
  18. Vitamin D Suppresses Leptin Stimulation of Cancer Growth through MicroRNA.
  19. Vitamin D Deficiency Soars in the U.S., Study Says

Article Summary

  • Vitamin D may be one of the most important hormonal substances for your body as it helps prevent chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease and cancer.

  • For the majority of people, lifestyle − including lack of sunlight exposure and poor dietary choices − is what causes severe vitamin D deficiency.

  • Vitamin D is not a vitamin. It is a steroid hormone with the ability to affect over 100 genetic functions in the body.

  • For many people, sun exposure is not enough to ensure healthy, normal vitamin D level. And food as a substantial supplemental source of vitamin D may be a thing of the past.

  • According to the Vitamin D Council, vitamin D supplementation may be beneficial for autoimmune disease, chronic pain, high blood pressure and possibly even for preventing autism.

  • The kind of supplement you choose is as important as your choice to supplement with vitamin D.

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. I look forward to your educational emails and excellent products. I have been advised by Sabre Sciences in Ca. for the past few years and was amazed to learn so much about myself through simple saliva testing. Do you offer that type of testing, as well?

  2. This is a great article, I checked my vitamin D levels last year because of a lot of symptoms including muscle pain and it was 19ng/dl I’ve been talking a sublingually absorbed form since my guts are not very good absorbing anything and I’m still working to fix that issue. Thank you for all your articles and for educating the people that is aware of your existence which should be the majority some day, I pray for it.

  3. I clicked on the link check to find out if you are vit D deficient. I was expecting a list of signs and symptoms. Where awe they?

  4. Please provide a little more information on vitamin D receptors. I understand if they
    aren’t working properly you will not absorb what you take in. Also, in the case of autoimmune diseases a much higher level in the blood (up to 200) has been shown to have no side effects. Please address these, I value your opinion. Thank you.

      • I have been taking the Tumeric 3D for 4 months the difference is really noticeable . I am 76 and take good care of myself I have been taking good Curcumin for three years and helped me a lot but switched to Tumeric 3D this year and you just have this wonderful feeling of being so healthy every day it is fantastic .Thanks for a wonderful product .

    • Ask yourself why you are a vegetarian? Is it due to compassion? If that is the case, then it is a matter of degree. Plant life is also considered living but what Buddhists distinguish is the awareness of the living thing ie the higher the living thing, the greater the weight of killing it. The important thing is to realise that whatever life you take, you should appreciate the sacrifice it has made for your existence. You should not derive pleasure in its consumption but realise it was necessary for your existence.

  5. Your document is very interesting.
    Please send me, when you can ,all about deficiency in vitamin d .
    Do esquizofrenia has something to do with this deficiency?
    Thanks

  6. Please have your grammarian/proofreader review your articles before publication. Effecting should be affecting. To people like me, improper use of words affects your credibility and professionalism.

    Thanks.

  7. I thought some type of pepper was necessary for Curcumin to be absorbed in the body. This is what all the literature and other turmeric supplements are saying. Please clarify

  8. you really should mention the fact that Geoengineering in the form of stratospheric solar radiation management is blocking sunshine globally in a last-ditch attempt to prevent runaway temperatures and abrupt climate shift. It’s probably better to stay indoors, because what is filtering down into the air column contains nanoparticulate matter containing such neurotoxins as aluminum. These particulates penetrate the blood-brain barrier, causing untold damage. This should be stopped immediately, and your readers really need to be aware of it so that they can join in the fight to raise awareness and, with critical mass, actually put an end to a process that is toxifying the entire biosphere. For health’s sake, please don’t be silent!

  9. I am taking your tumeric currently but will need to re-order in a. couple of weeks, is this available? I know in the past , this goes out of stock quickly and are put on a waiting list.

  10. I notice that the D3 level has been halved from the previous level in the Epigenetics Turmeric D3. Why have you done this?
    If you have any of the previous batch (10,000 IU / serving) I would be very interested in purchasing them.
    Thank you

    • I also just noticed the reduction. I guess this explains why my test results dropped almost 10 points! I am very disappointed. It is really a shame, as I LOVED the product and the results when it first came out. I guess that I will have to look for another supplement, or go back to my separate D and tumeric supplements.

  11. I am under VA care and take about 10,000 units of D3 and my blood work up every 6 months show my D level OK, even for a diabetic. So I know it is important.

  12. As far as I can see, this doesn’t address my subject of vitamin D receptors.
    If it does, please let me know where. Thank you.

  13. It would be useful to refer to the rs address of the gene CYP2R1. There are many rs addresses. Not sure at all what you mean when you say CYP2R1 and GC — is GC the wild type or the risk allele – and for what location?

    Some of us are following this genetic information more closely than others but if you have the information and don’t print it because you think we aren’t interested, you are not always correct.

    That said, interesting article, appreciated.

  14. Thank you. My doc told me I had none and prescribed 1000 a cap once a day.
    I forget and etc. I also sometimes take good old cod liver oil flavored with lemon.
    That is Carlson brand. Thanks much.

    • I doubt if you can raise your levels sufficiently by only taking 1,000 a day…are you sure he did not say 10,000 a day to get your levels up? From what I have read and listened to you would have to take way more than 1,000 initially.

  15. This sounds great, but I always have an allergic reaction to Ashwagandha and I’ve been told it’s pretty common.

  16. Hi there, I’m very interested in ordering this product, but, do you ship to Australia 🇦🇺 or maybe there is a product here sommelier 🙏 Jadwiga

  17. Do you ever have sales or point system for returning customers buying your products?
    I buy the enzymes and Tumeric even though it is very costly to me and have been for about a year now. For instance, Dr Mercola products you earn points that can go towards future purchases.
    love your products!
    Patricia

  18. For a long time ago I was telling you guys about any kind of “mushroom”.. because you guys have the fermented forms of the mushroom in every single product, it is impossible for me taking your products… I tried before and cause a allergie reaction on my neck. Unfortunately, I had to stop. Right now I am so excited about this new product but I can’t take! 🙁 How I can enjoy the benefit of the products if every single one has mushroom?

    • We are sorry to hear that you can’t enjoy our products because of an allergy, Juliana. We may release products in the future that don’t contain mushrooms.

  19. The “pro-hormone” (your term) 7-dehydrocholesterol (7-DHC) on the skin that is changed to cholecalciferol by UVB (the burning one we avoid by covering ourselves with sunscreen), is that not a form of LDL, the “bad” cholesterol? …. So are we not avoiding in two ways by nodern medical/nutritional advice?
    What I am interested in is the cholecalciferol and a possible third way we can be undermining our vit D absorbtion. Can we also be washing it off before it can be absorbed? What makes me think along these lines is the beautiful teeth our indigenous rural people have in South Africa, where water is sometime too precious to use for washing.
    Any comments?

  20. I have been taking the Tumeric 3D for 4 months the difference is really noticeable . I am 76 and take good care of myself I have been taking good Curcumin for three years and helped me a lot but switched to Tumeric 3D this year and you just have this wonderful feeling of being so healthy every day it is fantastic .Thanks for a wonderful product .

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