For the last decade or more, it seems that Vitamin D is the new "it" vitamin that everyone everywhere should be taking. I mean, it makes sense to prescribe Vitamin D with abandon in the midst of the low Vitamin D epidemic that doctors are reporting. And for the chronically ill population, Vitamin D is often the first thing that well-meaning friends and family recommend: "you just need more Vitamin D! Vitamin D is the root of everything! Vitamin D cures all."
But it turns out--and I can personally attest to this--that Vitamin D supplementation may not be appropriate or safe for everyone, even if your Vitamin D blood levels are low. I'm going to say that again: Vitamin D is not appropriate for everyone, even if your D is in the toilet.
In fact, in certain genetically predisposed individuals, or those with a toxic load that is spiking their inflammation, Vitamin D supplementation can be like pouring gasoline on fire. And in some situations, as it was in mine, it can be one of the environmental triggers, or part of a combination of triggers, that sets off a much more serious pathology. You can read more about this and chronic illness predisposition in our blog post from earlier this week.
So, how does all this work, you're probably asking. How can Vitamin D ever be bad?
Well, in certain individuals, there is a Vitamin D Receptor [VDR] Bsm gene that (if expressing) can convert Vitamin D 25 (Vitamin D supplementation) really rapidly into the active form of Vitamin D called D 1, 25. When doctors check the Vitamin D level of these individuals, they often conclude that these individuals have low Vitamin D 25 levels, but if they were to also check their Vitamin D 1, 25 levels (the active form) they would find that the level is normal or actually way too high.
In this way, the more a person with the Vitamin D Receptor [VDR] Bsm gene keeps supplementing with too much Vitamin D, the worse and worse their inflammation becomes (and sometimes the worse they will actually feel) because this person has too much Vitamin D 1, 25 (the active form).
In other words, your Vitamin D levels may not really be as low as you and your doctors may think, and trying to supplement D may make things much much worse.
So what does all this mean for the everyday person? Biochemistry speak aside, here are some takeaways, and how you can empower yourself:
- You need to know your genes. Recommend a 23 and me saliva test for $99. Run the results through the Variant Report on the MTHFR Nation for $30. See if your VDR Bsm SNP is flagged. (the report will mark it as yellow or red, depending on risk factor).
- Determine if the gene is expressing or just skip step #1 to save money and your patience and start here: Ask that your doctor not only draw the standard Vitamin D 25, but also the active form of Vitamin D: 1, 25. If your Vitamin D 1, 25 is low, then small amounts of Vitamin D supplementation can be managed, as long as you closely monitor your Vitamin D 1, 25 levels to ensure you are not spiking your biochemistry or inflammation. If your Vitamin D: 1, 25 is normal or high, then supplementing with Vitamin D not advisable. If your Vitamin D 1, 25 is too high, then you need to start looking at the root cause of your inflammation. Root causes are best sussed out by a preliminary consultation with an epigenetic and body biochemistry specialist. For recommendations, please submit your question via Contact Us on this site, or find us on Facebook to submit a private message or comment.
- If you are one of these fun VDR Bsm mutants (join the club! I'm part of it too!), the we need to get our D supplementation in the form of sulfated D from the sun between 8am and noon. This sulfated D is needed to fuel GcMAF in our bodies which is the very mechanism that empowers us to ward off stealth microbes, viruses, infections, bacteria, protozoa, and other critters (which can often aggravate a taxed immune system and drive up the 1, 25 form of Vitamin D). However, please note that if you do have a known toxic load, that sun can (in some cases) make you feel worse, so in many individuals lowering this load and clearing out your lymphatic system may be needed before Vitamin D in its sulfated form can be accepted by the body.
- If you are chronically recovering, use the Vitamin D 1, 25 marker as a marker of inflammation in your body. This marker has become one of my most favorite ways of monitoring the levels of inflammation in my body, and in the bodies of my family.
- If you decide to ignore all this and take standard Vitamin D supplementation with a VDR Bsm SNP regardless, then it is highly advised that you monitor your Vitamin D 1, 25 very closely to see if it is increasing your inflammation.
The science is always evolving, and so our research is always ongoing. As we and others in the field unearth more, we will post updates on this subject.
DISCLAIMER: We are not doctors, and none of contents of this article can be taken as medical advice. Please proceed with caution.