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Vitamin D is widely becoming a hot topic of discussion given immunity is of such high importance in current times.

We are currently seeing a worldwide population of vitamin D deficiency in pandemic proportions. 

Is there a reason for this and how do we work towards correcting this?

Is supplementing with isolated synthetic products the answer to this dilemma? 

Could we potentially be making the issue worse?

Could supplementing with isolated synthetic products be causing the body’s biochemistry to unravel?

All things to consider.

It has been suggested through clinical reporting that those with high calcium (approximately 80% of the adult population) will increase soft tissue calcification if supplementing with vitamin D.

You may not know but outside of the body’s biochemistry calcium can become elevated in the body because of poor metabolism, as a buffer to stress, too much processed foods, magnesium deficiency to name only a few reasons.

 In clinical practice Functional testing can show an accumulation of calcium in all the wrong places. Supplementation (synthetic) can be hard on the liver and kidneys, destroys vitamin A stores, and deplete potassium and magnesium, both important minerals needed for biochemical processes.

When Calcium becomes misplaced in the body and is not getting into the bones where it belongs it can instead become all the deposition diseases- kidney stones, gallstones, cataracts, arteriosclerosis, deposition/plaquing in the joints and brain leading to bone diseases and other chronic disease.  

Hopefully, this will provide some new insights into mineral metabolism and how we really need to consider an approach to health that is more wholistic. The body’s biochemistry and metabolic processes are all interconnected. Minerals are in a delicate balance and there are many reasons mineral imbalances lead to nutritional deficiencies, imbalances, and toxicities.

 (Perhaps you may like to consider reading our other blogs on minerals).

When metabolic processes start to unravel the body is not as efficient as it should be. It’s the minerals that run the bodies biochemistry. Digestion, calcium metabolism, blood sugar regulation to name only a few are all affected.

It has been speculated that too much isolated D can lead to adrenal fatigue, thyroid disorders, renal failure, kidney stones and insomnia. Hospitalisation can result from life-threateningly low potassium and high blood pressure.

Vitamin D has been long associated with supporting calcium and bone balance, but it also has a role to play in immunity. In current pandemic times this has become increasingly evident.

Deficiency in vitamin D is associated with increased autoimmunity as well as increased susceptibility to infection. As a result, vitamin D has been used to modulate the innate and adaptive immune response. 

Let’s take a closer look at vitamin D synthesis- this gets technical 

Vitamin D is produced after exposure to UVB light, its synthesis is influenced by latitude, natures seasons, use of sun protection and sunscreen and skin pigment. 

Vitamin D is converted in the liver to form 25OH Vitamin D3, this is an inactive compound (but the most reliable measurement of an individual’s vitamin D levels). The next step involves the conversion in the kidney to the active compound 1,25 dihydroxy vitamin D.

D3 created from the sun is converted into vitamin D sulfate, unlike synthetic forms of D. Sulfate is a critical nutrient that many people are deficient in as it is depleted from our food chain and we have a reduced exposure to the sun as a protective mechanism. Sulfur is an important mineral found in all cells and tissues as it is needed for collagen formation and protein synthesis. It helps the health of our skin, hair, nails, is essential for enzyme reactions, cellular health, brain, and joint health. Sulfur is also needed for detoxification.  

The primary source of vitamin D is the sun, and it is also found naturally in a few whole foods, foods that are naturally exposed to the sun. Sun exposure is encouraged with the best time between 12-2pm with minimal clothing. The shorter the shadow from the sun the better the absorption rate.

With more people spending time indoors, especially during pandemic times and the fear of sun exposure leading to skin cancer our absorption of vitamin D has been reduced. 

Vitamin D is made in our bodies by the step-by-step conversion process as discussed so generally and is not something we get predominantly from our food. We can choose to consume foods that have a better chance regarding conversion – butter from grass fed cows, wild caught fatty fish like salmon or cod liver oil. However artificially supplementing with vitamin D in a synthetic form is a different conversion process.

Firstly, these do not contain cholesterol sulfate and vitamin D is a pro-hormone to vitamin conversion in the body. The way the body responds to a (synthetic) supplement form is not how it responds to the source acquired from sunshine on exposed skin (with no barriers, such as clothes and sunscreen). 

Recently there has been recognition of non-classical actions of vitamin D including the effects of cell proliferation and differentiation in addition to immunological effects resulting in an ability to maintain tolerance and promote protective immunity.

What we really need to be considering is how the body creates it (from sun exposure), how the body uses it actively, where it is stored (when it is needed for necessary use) and what other factors play a role in its function and use by the human body.

It’s also very important to clarify that Vitamin D is a hormone – not a vitamin so technically we shouldn’t really be ingesting it?