The Ultimate Guide to Vitamin D – Part 2 – What to do if your vitamin D deficient.
Vitamin D deficiency is the most common and easiest indicator of your health you need to be familiar with. Vitamin D is critical to your dental and overall health.
Unfortunately, there’s a good chance you have low vitamin D. If you have any of the following you likely have low vitamin D levels.
- Work indoors
- Don’t regularly get full body sunlight
- Avoid getting sun
- Aren’t eating nutrient diet rich in fat soluble vitamins – A,D, K2
- Eat a vegan diet
It’s estimated that 50 percent of the world is vitamin D deficient. And since it’s pretty difficult to take too much vitamin D (you’d need 10,000 IU or more for 3 months), I’d say it’s safe to assume you could probably use a little more vitamin D in your life.
I can’t say this enough: vitamin D is VITAL to both your dental health and your overall health. I often see people who think they eat healthy and exercise regularly, and all their hard work is easily be undermined by low vitamin D levels.
How do you know if you have low vitamin D levels? And if so, what should you do?
In Part 1 of this series, we examined how vitamin D improves brain function, gut health, and reduces your risk of mortality. Now, it’s time to find out how you can tell if you have low vitamin D levels and what you can do about it if you do.
What are symptoms of low vitamin D?
Because vitamin D is such an integral part of your immune system health, some of the first symptoms of low vitamin D levels are overall malaise and getting sick easily.
The 10 most common symptoms of low vitamin D are:
- Getting sick easily or often
- Chronic pain (often in your bones)
- Gut issues
- Wounds that don’t heal
- Head sweating
- Bones that break easily
- Hair loss
Keep in mind, some people run a higher risk of having vitamin D deficiency than others.
Risk factors for vitamin D deficiency
There are several factors that put people at a higher risk of vitamin D deficiency, including:
- Being older
- Having darker skin
- Being overweight
- You have high muscle mass and low fat
- Not eating dairy or being vegetarian
- Living further from the equator
- Living in a polluted city
- Overly protecting yourself from the sun
- Not going outside often
- Having impaired kidneys
- Having digestive issues
If you have any of these characteristics you’ll likely need more vitamin D to account for the risk factors.
I recommend making an appoint with your doctor to test your vitamin D levels if you have any of the symptoms or risk factors listed above.
Vitamin D deficiency is so prevalent and significant to your health, it’s important to know you’re getting a sufficient amount.
Knowing your vitamin D status
Testing vitamin D levels is one of the most common tests I perform. Over the years, I’ve come to realize it’s more likely my patient will have vitamin D deficiency than not. The vitamin D test is a simple blood test called the 25(OH)D, which can be done with your doctor or at home with a finger prick test.
Once you’ve gotten tested for vitamin D, you’ll notice your results come in either ng/ml or nmol/L. Depending on which organization’s standards you compare yourself to, there are different ranges for sufficient vitamin D levels.
Here’s how the Vitamin D Council breaks it down:
- Deficient: 0-40 ng/ml (0-100 nmol/l)
- Sufficient: 40-80 ng/ml (100-200 nmol/l)
- High Normal: 80-100 ng/ml (200-250 nmol/l)
- Undesirable: > 100 ng/ml (> 250 nmol/l)
Remember that optimal vitamin D levels are different for different people.
Aim for a level of: 40-60 ng/ml or 100-150 nmol/L.
A quick note about conversion: You can convert a test from nmol/L to ng/ml by dividing by 2.5. For example, a 60 nmol/L test (divided by 2.5) would be 24 ng/ml. You can do the opposite conversion using multiplication. To convert ng/ml to nmol/L, simply multiply by 2.5. For example, 24 ng/ml multiplied by 2.5 is 60 nmol/L.
Because vitamin D directly influences your body’s metabolism of calcium, you’re likely to see an increase in calcium levels when you get more sun or start taking vitamin D supplements.
You have your test results – how much vitamin D do you need?
Based on your test results, you should take the corresponding quantity of supplements. Even better, get more sunlight in it’s corresponding amount. Here’s a quick look at what you should take to reach optimal vitamin D levels between 40-60 ng/ml or 100-150 nmol/L.
|If your vitamin D levels are between….||You need this much vitamin D…|
|0-10 ng/ml||7,400 – 10,000 IU|
|10-20 ng/ml||7,000 – 9,700 IU|
|20-30 ng/ml||5,800 – 8,600 IU|
|30-40 ng/ml||4,600 – 7,300 IU|
|40-50 ng/ml||3,000 – 5,700 IU|
|Anything past 100 ng/ml||Cut back|
** Remember that everyone’s vitamin D levels and are different. So always consult your physician and test your levels regularly.
Vitamin D deficiency vs. absorption issues
If you aren’t getting enough vitamin D, it can be a relatively easy fix with increased sun exposure and supplementation. However, just because you’re getting enough vitamin D doesn’t mean your body is taking it in and using it efficiently.
For example, there are several enzymes that metabolize vitamin D and influence how it is used throughout the body. So, it’s not only important to get the right amount of vitamin D – you’ll also need the right cofactors to ensure your body is actually using it.
Also, if you find that you’re vitamin D deficient but believe you are getting sufficient levels either through the sun or supplementation, a gut issue could be causing absorption problems and impaired vitamin D synthesis. Studies have suggested that vitamin D deficiency could be due to inflammation and improper gut absorption, rather than the other way around.
If you’re having your vitamin D levels tested, you should be sure to also work on your gut health. If your gut isn’t properly absorbing your supplements, your efforts to bring your vitamin D levels up could be misdirected.
Notes on vitamin D levels and toxicity from the vitamin D council:
- The human genome was selected with abundance of vitamin D. Humans evolved in the sun near the equator, synthesizing robust quantities of vitamin D in the skin. Research has shown that lifeguards, farmers near the equator, and sun dwelling hunter gatherers maintain blood levels between 40-80 ng/ml on sun exposure alone1,2,3.
- The Vitamin D Council believes that the maternal 25(OH)D status necessary to provide antirachitic activity for offspring should be considered a biomarker for optimal vitamin D status in humans. Research shows that antirachitic activity in breast milk occurs at 45 ng/ml or higher, but not at 38.4 ng/ml or lower4.
- Research has generally shown that parathyroid hormone is maximally suppressed at 40 ng/ml or higher, another finding that the Vitamin D Council considers a biomarker for optimal vitamin D status5,3.
- The human body is usually unable to achieve 25(OH)D levels above 100 ng/ml on UVB exposure alone3. There are no studies to date to suggest that 25(OH)D levels over 100 ng/ml are beneficial, so the Vitamin D Council believes that the upper limit should be set at 100 ng/ml.
- Vitamin D toxicity manifests itself by hypercalcuria and hypercalcemia. Research has shown that serum calcium levels are not related to 25(OH)D levels up to 257 ng/ml6, but cases of toxicity have been reported at levels as low as 194 ng/ml7.
How to test your Vitamin D levels at home
I recommend testing 4x every year minimum. After few months of supplementing RE-TEST.
Buy 3-4 tests online tests from these locations
Home Vitamin D Testing Kits
Vitamin D Council-> Get It Here
Physicians Best -> Get It Here
ZRT Lab – > Get It Here
Cerascreen -> Get It Here
Sun VitD3 –> Get It Here
Thriva –> Get It Here
Vitamin D is vital to dental and overall health
Know your vitamin D status. Make an appointment with your doctor and ask them to test your vitamin D levels, then take the appropriate next steps. Testing your vitamin D levels is easy and could offer you a simple yet very effective health boost!
In Part 3 of this series, we are going to look at how you can increase your vitamin D levels with surprising sun enhancing tips. Did you know taking a shower too soon after you sunbathe can actually wash away vitamin D as your body is making it? Learn more about this and other sunshine tips in Part 3.
The Dental Diet is your 40-day food program for life-long sufficient vitamin D levels.
Now I want to hear from you.
Have you had your vitamin D levels tested recently?
Want to know more? Dr Steven Lin’s book, The Dental Diet, is available to order today. An exploration of ancestral medicine, the human microbiome and epigenetics it’s a complete guide to the mouth-body connection. Take the journey and the 40-day delicious food program for life-changing oral and whole health.
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