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The essential guide to the protective effects of the sunshine vitamin

arthritis autoimmunity cancer dysbyosis hfcs k2 leaky gut osteoporosis sleep vitamin d Mar 09, 2020

An epidemic

Have you heard by now that we are experiencing and epidemic of Vitamin D deficiency in the United States? Vitamin D is so beneficial in so many ways that it is urgent that we make this a high level priority! It is currently estimates that 73% of western residents are Vitamin D deficient OR have an insufficient Vitamin D level to experience health protecting benefits.

What Vitamin D actually is

First of all, lets discuss what it is. Vitamin D is not just a vitamin. It is a steroid hormone. Just like cortisol, cholesterol, estrogen, testosterone. It is made when our skin cells use UVB rays and cholesterol to synthesizes it after sun exposure. Now, consider how concerned we have become about sun exposure and our widespread use of sunscreens. Do you think this could correlate with our current Vitamin D deficiency epidemic? Add to that the fact that we spend more time indoors than any time in history.

Second, We CAN get Vitamin D from our diet. The problem with that is that our food system is extremely corrupt. For instance, a good natural source of Vitamin D is free range, fresh, non-oxidized pig fat. While fresh, natural lard may have been common in my Grandma's era, straight off the farm in Minnesota, how easy do you think that is to find on your grocery store shelves these days? Also, did you know that high fructose corn syrup decreases Vitamin D absorption? Oh, And the obesity epidemic. We know that overweight people have hormonal issues that make it difficult to absorbing Vitamin D.

Once we are in deficiency ranges, no amount of sunshine and healthy eating will be enough to replenish us to protective or even adequate levels of Vitamin D. This should be a high level health priority that is more important than addressing household toxins. In order, our health priorities should fall like this:

  1. Food
  2. Sleep
  3. Stress
  4. movement
  5. Vitamin D status!

It is silly that it has taken Vitamin D status this long to be seen as so important.

Mechanisms of Vitamin D

  • Binds with receptors and causes signaling communication. It turns on or off different genes like those for mineral metabolism
  • Creation of neurotropic factors-neurotransmitters that are responsible for mood, memory, thought processes, the entire feedback reward system that is fundamental to how the brain is working. All hormones have crosstalk in regulating the thyroid, adrenal glands, pancreas, and neurotransmitters and hormones in the brain.
  • Responsible for cell division and cell survival. Low Vitamin D correlates with incidence of cancer.
  • Regulates circadian rhythms. Sleep deficiency is associated with Vitamin D deficiency.
  • Regulates immune system. Protects against oxidative damage and regulates most cells in the innate and adaptive immune system including T-cells and B-cells. It regulates cells in charge of attacking foreign invaders, detecting cancerous cells, and detecting and killing infected cells.
  • ensures integrity of barrier tissues including the skin, intestines, lungs, and brain

The first part to break down during deficiency is our inflammatory immune system possibly resulting in

  • increased susceptibility to infection
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • cancer
  • diabetes
  • obesity
  • autoimmunity
  • chronic kidney disease
  • osteoporosis
  • eczema and "leaky skin"
  • Increased intestinal permeability or "leaky gut syndrome"
  • gut dysbiosis/bacterial balance
  • all chronic illnesses

Getting Vitamin D naturally

Getting Vitamin D naturally is a huge problem for all of us. How much we produce depends on a bunch of factors such as

  • latitude
  • time of year
  • clouds
  • time of day you are outside
  • surface area of skin exposed

For example, in San Diego, CA, if all of the above are optimal, you could absorb an optimal amount of vitamin D in 7 minutes of sunbathing at the beach. In Seattle, the optimal amount of absorption could be achieved if you were out in the sun naked for 90 minutes a day, every day. If you were to wear pants and short sleeves, 4 hours of exposure would be required.

Add to this the fact that we now UV coat everything. Our car windows and home windows are UV coated. Or clothes and hats have UV protection, and we have been taught to use sunscreen rigorously. We are also spending more time indoors than any other time in history!

Let's talk about labs

First, the basics. Vitamin D is measured in international units or IU's. There is 40 IU's per 1mg of Vitamin D. The RDA for Vit. D is 800IU (what a bunch of cowardly nonsense) Once we are deficient, it is going to require supplementation to get us back into an optimal range. Most people will end up needing somewhere from 5000 IU/day to 50.000 IU every couple of days (2-3 times/week) That being said, we should not supplement blindly and risk overshooting the mark. Test don't guess.

There is a disparity between traditional western medicine vs functional medicine lab reference ranges considered "normal". For example, a Vitamin D level of 32ng/ml is not considered deficient by traditional medicine and does not necessarily put you in the danger zone, but it also doesn't provide health protecting benefits. An optimal functional medicine Vit. D level ranges from 70-100 ng/ml. That's a big difference!

Luckily, a Vitamin D test is relatively inexpensive. Ask your doctor to check it for you and to code it for vitamin D deficiency. If that is not an option, EverlyWell, Any Lab Test Now, or labs thru the Vitamin D council will cost you about $50-100 out of pocket.

Things to consume along with Vitamin D

  1. Fatty food! For absorption, take Vitamin D along with fatty food consumption such as eggs and avocado, keto coffee,
  2. Magnesium supplements
  3. A Calcium supplement
  4. Vitamin K2 hopefully in your high quality Vitamin D supplement

Vitamin K 2? I would be remiss.

Vitamin K2 is a relatively recent discovery in the nutritional world. We know about Vitamin K1 that helps blood clot and is found in leafy green vegetables. OK forget K1. We are concerned with K2 right now!

Vitamin K2 transports calcium from the wrong place to the right place. SO, it prevents calcium from being deposited in the arteries, eyes (cataracts), tartar on teeth, or into soft tissues contributing to arthritis, bursitis, tendonitis. It does this by activating osteocalcin and MGP (matrix GLA protein) which flips on like a light switch and takes calcium absorbed from the intestines and transports it to the bone, helping to prevent osteoporosis AND vascular and heart disease. K2 comes from the fat of grass fed animal protein, organ meats, and fermented foods such as fancy cheeses.

Your dose of Vitamin K2 is measured in micrograms (mcg). As little as 45 mcg of Vitamin K@ has proven effective up to 185 mcg/day. As a general rule, you can purchase a quality Vitamin D Supplement with Vitamin K2 in it in the proper ratios. A decent ratio would be 100mcgk2/10,000 IU Vitamin D.

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