Let’s explore this more
The synthesis of Vitamin D in the Body
When the sun penetrates through the skin cholesterol gets converted into cholecalciferol (vitamin D3), the fat storage form, provitamin D.
In the liver, cholecalciferol gets converted into calcidiol, the main circulating form of D, which is water soluble.
The kidney is then involved in further conversion to calcitriol, the active form of vitamin D.
Calcitriol is a steroid-like hormone that interacts with vitamin D receptors in target tissues, including the small intestine (to increase calcium resorption), osteoblasts in bone (to increase bone calcium absorption), in renal tubular cells in the kidneys (to increase their calcium resorption).
All these interactions and conversions can only happen if there is enough MAGNESIUM in the body.
We need magnesium, boron, and K2 to properly utilise Vitamin D. Cholesterol (75% is made in the body) is also needed for vitamin D usage. Magnesium is a co-factor required for the binding of vitamin D to its transport protein. K2 is obtained through dietary dairy, grass fed ruminants, eggs, liver, beef, and chicken. K2 helps utilise vitamin D and protects from toxicity if using vitamin D supplementation. Boron is also an important co-factor of magnesium needed for calcium regulation and vitamin D usage.
Vitamin D uses up your critical magnesium needed to activate the enzymes that convert vitamin D into its active form which is another reason why its important to first have strong magnesium stores.
Magnesium can be lost by the body due to stress, alcohol, caffeine and consequently activating the excess vitamin D that you are taking.
To really understand your magnesium status requires investigation. A blood test will not give you the correct status as magnesium is intracellular, meaning it is in the cells and not the blood.
It is important to test your vitamin D levels before blindly supplementing. Supplementing with vitamin D bypasses the conversion process in the body, plus all the other benefits humans can receive from exposure from the sun.
Blindly supplementing and self-prescribing vitamin D deficiency can be detrimental to health and dangerous.
Cholecalciferol (activated vitamin D3) when supplemented alone for long periods can cause life-threateningly high calcium and phosphorus levels in the body resulting in severe, acute kidney failure, cardiovascular abnormalities, and tissue mineralisation which can progress to life-threatening disease.
Doctors are testing mainly storage D (25 (OH) D) and this usually is not enough information and not a thorough enough testing. Testing for active D levels (1,25 (OH)2D) the biologically active form is also imperative.
Did you know there are up to 12 different types of D however medical professionals choose to not test these or even discuss how vitamin D metabolism works through sun exposure.
It’s also Interesting to understand from a clinical perspective that everyone’s biochemistry is different, and the body responds to supplements either positively or negatively. Improvements to health or the potential to cause further damage depends on various factors such as nutrient mineral interactions and how the nutrient is currently being utilised in the body.
We specifically work with minerals for this reason. We use the HTMA (Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis) to provide investigations into calcium metabolism and magnesium status. Vitamin D does not work in isolation.
There have been numerous clinical resources published on this.
Vitamin D metabolism requires magnesium for optimal absorption. Without sufficient magnesium the body will not be able to absorb enough natural “D” from the sun. This is because magnesium is required for many steps along the vitamin D metabolic pathway including the transformation of vitamin D from its storage form (also supplemental form) to its active form.
Please consider also if you are taking a high dose of D supplemental form as you may potentially be driving yourself into a magnesium deficiency (as they antagonise each other). Magnesium is needed for over 360 metabolic functions in the body predominantly adrenal function and blood sugar regulation.
Its highly important to focus on restoring magnesium levels as a priority and testing more fully before even considering taking a vitamin D supplement.
This approach is about considering your body’s biochemistry and not creating an imbalance leading to more serious health consequences.
Another interesting insight is the effect vitamin D supplementation has on the depletion of potassium; the very nutrient needed to support thyroid function. Vitamin D can have an antagonistic effect on thyroid function due to the increase in the absorption and retention of calcium. Calcium is driven to rise in the body and the body needs to be able to utilise all the extra calcium. It needs the right cofactors for this process, like magnesium.
Vitamin D in the body cleaves to calcium, allowing calcium to accumulate so much that it overrides magnesium and forces it out of the body. When calcium rises too much the body’s first response is to find magnesium to help keep both two minerals in the correct ratio (ideally 2:1).
When magnesium is deficient (it will be disproportionate to calcium) leading to an increased need for more (magnesium) which will suppress adrenal function (to retain current magnesium stores) to compensate for the high calcium.
Asa result of adrenal function being suppressed this will lead to a continual loss of sodium and potassium in the urine and this affect many processes in the body leading to burnout. The loss of intracellular potassium increases a thyroid hormone resistance pattern, from a cellular sensitivity perspective. Symptoms are similar to hypothyroidism but with ‘normal’ thyroid blood tests.
This faulty cell permeability affects the ability of the (thyroid) hormone to get into the cells effectively which will slow down metabolism leading to lowered overall energy output.
Unlike a typical blood test, a Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA) is a blueprint for your health and is the only test available to provide the right information to be able to improve chronic health issues because there is less guesswork. Overcoming chronic health problems is more like putting together a puzzle rather than putting on a band-aid.
Healing takes time and discipline but when all the pieces of the puzzle are in place, results can be achieved.
Seeing an imbalanced Calcium-to-Potassium ratio on the HTMA is becoming increasingly common due to these very reasons relating to vitamin D supplementation and high tissue calcium. Its this ratio that is used to assess how efficiently the thyroid is functioning.
Foods High in Vitamin D
Shiitake and button mushrooms (ideally sun dried, not with artificial light)
Cod liver oil
Eggs (one egg had 10% daily value of vitamin D)
To boost your vitamin D levels we are recommending safe sun exposure, cod liver oil, magnesium, healing your liver and kidneys, working with underlying infections, healing inflammation and balancing minerals (this can be done effectively with a Functional Test – Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis HTMA and working with a highly skilled Practitioner to interpret your results).
In conclusion for those with an already deficient magnesium status, taking vitamin D can undoubtedly add fuel to the fire. Hopefully, this analysis has provided insights into the correct supplementation of vitamin D. Nutrition is all about synergy and working with the whole system and not isolated excessive supplementation.
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25048990/ Low Vitamin D is a consequence of chronic inflammation rather than the cause.