A little over a year ago when we had our genetics tested, the “why” of our low Vitamin D levels was answered. We both have mutations on our Vitamin D Receptor (VDR) genes, which make it more difficult for our bodies to take in adequate levels of Vitamin D from the sun. Learning about the mutations helped us to create a strategy for ensuring our Vitamin D levels stay within a healthy range (by taking a Vitamin D3 supplement each day).
Pasted below is a screenshot showing how these genetic mutations appear on our genetic methylation report. The +/- indicates one of the copies is healthy and one has a mutation. With one mutation on each of the VDR genes it indicates our ability to absorb Vitamin D efficiently is greatly debilitated.
What is Vitamin D and why is it important:
Lesser known strengths of Vitamin D are:
- Vitamin D regulates the immune system and can protect us from catching the common cold
- Maintaining normal levels of Vitamin D may reduce the risk of developing Multiple Sclerosis
- Vitamin D has been linked to maintaining a healthy weight
- Vitamin D can reduce the severity and frequency of asthma
- Healthy levels of Vitamin D have been shown to reduce the risk of developing Rheumatoid Arthritis
- High Vitamin D doses has been shown to help people recover more quickly from tuberculosis
- Vitamin D deficiency has been found to be prevalent in cancer patients
- Low Vitamin D levels are commonly found in people struggling with depression
- Low levels of Vitamin D may increase the risk of heart attack and early death
For people who don’t have VDR mutations, a 15-minute daily walk in the sun with your arms and face exposed can be an efficient way to get the Vitamin D your body needs. However, even without VDR mutations, a large percentage of our society work indoors, wear long sleeves or jackets when outdoors, wear sunscreen (which blocks Vitamin D absorption) or live in parts of the county where clouds and liquid sunshine (rain) prevail throughout the year. Also, people with darker skin do not absorb sunlight as easily as those with lighter skin and have a higher risk of low Vitamin D levels. There are many contributing factors leading to being deficient in Vitamin D.
Supplementation of Vitamin D3 is one consideration worthy of looking into. However there are a few food sources containing Vitamin D which include: fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, and sardines), eggs and Vitamin-D fortified dairy products and cereals.
To check to see if your Vitamin D levels are within a healthy range, you can ask your doctor to run a test called 25-hydroxyvitamin D. I've pasted below a chart showing the range of Vitamin D levels.
Having healthy Vitamin D levels are clearly important. I recommend getting your Vitamin D levels checked regularly, spending time outside absorbing Vitamin D on sunny days, adding Vitamin D rich foods into your diet and working with a health care professional to see if supplementation might work best for you.
Wishing you a happy summer!!