I often say, “Test, don’t guess”. Having objective markers to correlate with your symptoms is the fastest way to better manage your health. It can also save you a lot of money taking unnecessary supplements, medications and lost time from work.
Blood testing is one of the most important assessment tools for the identification of functional disorders and for disease prevention. It's particularly helpful to catch dysfunctions that are easy to correct if caught in time. Click here for a listing of blood panels and markers I suggest having done at least once a year (some may require more frequent testing if supplementation is required).
One particular biomarker everyone should have tested is their Serum Vitamin D levels. Lower levels of Serum Vitamin D are associated with a variety of types of immune deficiency. On the other hand, higher levels can be immunosuppressive.
Below are conditions that have been associated with serum vitamin D (25-OH) levels as noted in various clinical studies:
< 10 ng/mL: Notably deficient
< 15 ng/mL: Risk of rickets
< 20 ng/mL: 75% greater risk of colon cancer
< 30 ng/mL: Suboptimal/Deficient
< 34 ng/mL: Twice the risk of heart attack
< 36 ng/mL: Increased high blood pressure
< 40 ng/mL : Three times the risk of multiple sclerosis
40–60ng/mL: Likely Optimal levels (varies by individual)
Vitamin D Supplementation Doses
We each have unique physiology. Some of us can metabolize and retain Vitamin D quite well while others require very large doses to maintain even baseline healthy levels. Make sure you check your levels after no more than 2-3 months of supplementing with a given IU level per day.
It's important to note is that Magnesium is required to convert Vitamin D into its active form in the bloodstream. As a result, Vitamin D supplementation (especially high-dose) may actually cause or exacerbate magnesium deficiency. If you do start Vitamin D supplementation, it's important to have your RBC Magnesium level checked and start the appropriate magnesium supplementation for at least 2 weeks prior to beginning Vitamin D supplementation.
Normal dosing of vitamin D depends on your blood levels and your medical history. Those with impaired digestion and absorption of fats (and thus fat-soluble vitamins) may also need sublingual forms or higher doses to gain optimal blood levels. Also, being overweight or having a chronic health condition can affect Vitamin D absorption, perhaps warranting a larger dose.
Most people don't realize that Vitamin D is technically not a "vitamin" but rather a steroid hormone that needs some dietary fat for absorption. It's best to take with a fish oil capsule or a teaspoon of coconut or olive oil.
Be sure to consult your practitioner for your unique needs. Treatment doses for blood level ranges I frequently recommend for my clients are as follows:
Note: introducing Vitamin D via a “ramp up” is an important step. This can start with 1000-2000 IU/day and increase by another increment every 5 days. We ramp doses slowly to allow the body (and its Vitamin D receptors) to adjust gradually. I also recommend avoiding Vitamin D2 fortification in processed foods (this inactive form takes up receptors that we want active Vitamin D to have available to use and thus drive cellular effects!).
Here are some additional facts about Vitamin D:
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