Should You Supplement Vitamin D Or Not?
For those newly exploring the world of health and wellness, you might find it surprising to encounter a prevailing rumor - supplementing with Vitamin D is considered dangerous and should be avoided. The word to focus here, however, is "never". It's essential to approach this blanket statement with caution. The idea that one should never supplement, be it a nutrient, hormone, amino acid, or anything else, can be a problematic notion. After all, the appropriateness of supplementation can be subjective and highly dependent on an individual's unique circumstances. It can be potentially harmful for some, while beneficial for others.
What Does Vitamin D Do?
Contrary to its name, Vitamin D is not actually a vitamin but rather a hormone. This distinction is likely the root cause of the prevailing controversy surrounding its supplementation, as people tend to view it as a form of hormone replacement therapy (HRT). While there is some truth to this perception, it is crucial to recognize the critical role vitamin D plays in multiple systems within the human body. These systems include, but are not limited to, the immune system, metabolism, mental health, and the overall structure of bones and teeth. Moreover, this vitamin serves as a key regulator in the absorption of essential nutrients, specifically calcium and phosphorus, crucial elements for our skeletal and nervous systems. This particular fact, however, is what seems to be causing widespread concern.
Over Calcification with Too Much Vitamin D: Myth or Reality?
Certainly, there is a chance that over-calcification could occur due to excessive Vitamin D supplementation. However, this situation is relatively unlikely and can be connected more so to a lack of vitamin K2. This low probability is because Vitamin D, in addition to its various roles, aids in the absorption of phosphorus, a mineral with the ability to antagonize calcium levels in our bodies. Therefore, an equilibrium is frequently maintained, making it tough for over-calcification to take place.
However, under specific conditions, such as periods of chronic and relentless stress, the balance may be disrupted. Chronic stress can cause a decline in phosphorus levels in our bodies. This reduction might disturb the protective checks and balances in place, leading to increased calcium levels, which could, in turn, result in over-calcification. In such scenarios, the natural defense mechanism of our bodies might fail to compensate, thereby heightening the risk of over-calcification. This highlights the crucial role of maintaining balanced phosphorus levels and managing stress to prevent such situations.
Does Stress Affect Vitamin D Levels?
Stress, regardless of its source, acts as a stimulant for the adrenal glands, pushing them into overdrive. If this heightened state of stress persists for a long duration, it can result in the exhaustion of key nutrients that are vital to the adrenal glands' work. Crucial among these are potassium, sodium, and vitamin C. Interestingly, sodium and phosphorus share a synergistic relationship. This means that an increase in the level of one would lead to a corresponding rise in the other, maintaining a sort of biochemical balance. However, a decline in sodium could bring about a similar fall in phosphorus levels, indicating the delicate balance in our body's nutrient system.
if potassium drops, magnesium can also degrade as well, and this is dangerous for magnesium is required for the activation of all of the enzymes that metabolize vitamin D, acting as a cofactor in the enzymatic reactions in both the liver and kidneys where vitamin D is made.
Wait. It gets even more complicated. If magnesium dips then boron dips, and this is another essential mineral that helps with the absorption of vitamin D as well. Once this mineral goes haywire, then the over calcification can start occurring. Approximately 90% of our calcium is found in our bones and teeth, however we require potassium, magnesium and boron to retain calcium in our skeletal build so it doesn’t start depositing in our soft tissues like kidneys, gallbladder, arteries, etc. You can now see that there is a trickle down effect that vitamin D alone cannot fix.
What Is Affecting My Vitamin D Levels?
Another element closely linked to potassium is rubidium, a lesser-known but chemically similar mineral. When potassium levels decrease due to deficiency or depletion, rubidium often follows suit, which can impede the body's natural healing processes. Rubidium plays a vital role in calming the nervous system while maintaining bone health and thyroid function. As a consequence of prolonged stress, vitamin D levels in the body may decline. This drop occurs because the necessary building blocks to maintain adequate hormone levels and utilize calcium properly are depleted. The body engages in this protective mechanism to prevent the risk of over-calcification.
Is vitamin D to blame for this situation? Definitely not. Rather, it is the stress itself that impacts the body negatively, regardless of whether the stress is environmental, emotional, or physical, such as illness, infection, or physical trauma. In these circumstances, it is essential to recognize that vitamin D is not responsible for the negative outcomes.
Vitamin D Supplementation: Boon or Bane?
To address the central query - is vitamin D supplementation perilous? Generally speaking, it's not. Nevertheless, supplementing with vitamin D when your levels are already adequate can lead to an unnecessary hyperactivation of your immune system. Further, if your body lacks the fundamental building blocks to process the hormone effectively, supplementing can potentially result in more complex health issues down the track.
Briefly employing vitamin D supplements to gain some respite, such as moderating immune responses, fortifying bone health, and supporting mood regulation, won't spell disaster. However, an essential aspect of vitamin D supplementation is the availability of the necessary cofactors—these are crucial elements for its proper assimilation into the body. The core tenet to remember is that balance is key, and understanding the intricate relationship between vitamin D and other components of our bodily functions can aid in making informed decisions about supplementation.
The list of essential cofactors for proper vitamin D usage is:
- Magnesium helps activate the enzymes to make vitamin D
- Retinol (Vitamin A from animal sources) to help with the absorption of vitamin D
- Vitamin K2 helps direct calcium to the bones and teeth once absorbed with the help of vitamin D
- Boron to help with the absorption of vitamin D
- Phosphorus to help mitigate the effects of excess calcium in the system
Utilizing Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA) for Monitoring
Numerous nutrients, particularly minerals, can be assessed through a Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA). This analysis can be tremendously helpful in investigating potential stressors if you are grappling with persistently low levels of vitamin D. HTMA can reveal markers that indicate thyroid complications, adrenal challenges, immune system irregularities, and more—ultimately assisting in pinpointing the root cause of your problem. Additionally, essential minerals are available in our store, including Upgraded Magnesium and Upgraded Boron. You can even find a small amount of phosphorus in our Upgraded Memory product, bolstering these critical elements in your system.
In conclusion, the decision to supplement with vitamin D should be approached with care, taking into consideration the individual's unique circumstances, existing nutrient levels, and underlying health conditions. The key to successful supplementation is striking a balance while understanding the complex interplay between vitamin D and other bodily components. It's also crucial to acknowledge and maintain the necessary cofactors, such as magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin K2, boron, and phosphorus, to ensure proper vitamin D assimilation. Utilizing tools like HTMA to assess mineral levels and monitor potential challenges can help in making an informed decision about vitamin D supplementation. Ultimately, adopting a holistic view of one's health and understanding the interconnected nature of bodily systems will aid in determining the appropriate course of action for supplementation.
Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis Practitioner
Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner
Integrative Health Coach