I Want Me Some Vitamin D

By Tracy Gowler 4 years ago
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To supplement or not to supplement with vitamin D, that is the question.

First, things first. vitamin D plays a big role in immune system regulation.  Low levels of vitamin D have been associated with high cortisol levels.  Deficiencies have also been associated with autoimmune illnesses, specifically thyroid autoimmune diseases.

What else does it do? 

It helps with balancing blood sugar but if there is a deficiency it will affect insulin resistance in your body.  As you learn in my classes, Dysglycemia – meaning hypoglycemia and insulin resistance is a big player in Hashimoto’s.

According to studies, it can also protect against cancer, help improve heart failure and reduce cardiovascular risks.  Sounds pretty amazing!!!

Sadly, it is estimated that 50-60 percent of older North Americans have low levels of Vitamin D.  And the younger generations are similarly deficient.

Why is vitamin D deficiency such a big deal in when it comes to autoimmune?

It is absorbed in the small intestine.  Here are a couple of reasons why absorption might be affected. With leaky gut, which all Hashi’s sufferers have, it makes it very hard to absorb vitamin D. The small fingers in the lining of the gut that are used for nutrient absorption are damaged and not adequately performing their job.  Vitamin D along with many other vitamins and nutrients no longer make it into the system for cellular support.

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin so if you aren’t eating enough fats, it can be difficult to absorb as well.  On the other hand, if you are significantly overweight, your fat cells could be dissolving too much vitamin D making you low in it as well.

And you can still suffer low vitamin D levels despite having normal levels in blood tests.  Many with thyroid autoimmune disease have a genetic defect that won’t allow the body to process vitamin D properly, specifically Hashimoto’s sufferers.

What are you to do? 

Well, you can get vitamin D in a few different ways.  UV light, supplements, and food.

What is most effective?  Sunlight. 

Exposure for 30 min per day without sunscreen for sure and sans clothing if you can swing it is absolutely the best way to get your vitamin D.  But the sun isn’t always available in the winter months.

I have read in the wonderful Chris Kresser’s posts that cod liver oil in the winter, 1 tsp per day, can help with vitamin D and A levels.

You can also get vitamin D from foods like herring, trout, sardines, chicken eggs, beef liver and pork.  Eat your bacon.  Haha.  I love bacon.  Just saying.

There are concerns that too much vitamin D can create toxicity which I talk about below.  The goal is not to avoid the sun but to increase the intake of vitamin K2 and A to help with the absorption of vitamin D.  Vitamin K can be gotten from foods like sauerkraut and other fermented foods.  And eventually egg yoks, clean butter, hard and soft cheeses on occasion.

Vitamin A can be gotten from organ meats, cod liver oil, and full fat cream making sure the cows are grass fed.

Supplementing vitamin D can be dangerous.  High levels can cause bone density issues and can add to heart disease.

It is all so confusing. 

If you choose to supplement, it does require a trial with a close review of symptoms.  Signs of Vitamin D toxicity are kidney stones, low appetite, nausea, vomiting, thirst, excessive urination, weakness, and nervousness.

Evaluation of calcium levels can also indicate Vitamin D toxicity if calcium is high.  Blood testing by your doctor would be required to keep track of this as an early warning sigh.

To answer the question that I first asked.  I’m thinking not to supplement.  To get your butts outside for about an hour a day.  Lose the sunscreen.  Lose the clothes if you can.  And eat the things that support the absorption of vitamin D.  And what vitamins are those?  A and K.  And how can you do that?  By eating the right foods.

There is never a shortage of things to educate on.  I hope you have enjoyed this week’s post.

Have a great rest of your week.

  Autoimmune and Self Care, Autoimmune Disease, Eating for Hashimoto's, Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, Healing from Autoimmune, Healing from Hashimoto's, Living With Autoimmune, Tracy's Corner
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 Tracy Gowler

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