It’s that time again! This month’s Fact or Fiction is about one of the most essential nutrients for human health: Vitamin D. Especially Vitamin D3! Ready to test how much you know about the sunshine vitamin? Here we go!
Close to 50% of Americans are deficient in Vitamin D.
False! While it is true that many Americans are deficient, the percentage is closer 75% than 50%(1).
One billion people suffer from Vitamin D deficiency worldwide.
This one, startlingly, is true. And it’s not just people in northern climates. We’re talking people who live near the equator. We’re talking people living in small rural villages in India, who spend most of their time outdoors. We’re talking Middle East… No matter where you live, chances are good that either you or someone you care about is deficient in Vitamin D. From the Harvard School of Public Health(2):
“Worldwide, an estimated 1 billion people have inadequate levels of vitamin D in their blood, and deficiencies can be found in all ethnicities and age groups. Indeed, in industrialized countries, doctors are even seeing the resurgence of rickets, the bone-weakening disease that had been largely eradicated through vitamin D fortification.”
Vitamin D deficiency is more pervasive among people of color.
This one is also true. The more skin pigment you have, the harder it is for the ultraviolet rays of the sun to penetrate the skin layers in order to deliver the Vitamin D. The Center for Nutrition Studies(3) states:
“When the ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun penetrates human skin, it triggers a chemical reaction that generates vitamin D. If a person with fair skin goes out in the sun for about 20 minutes wearing a bathing suit, 20,000IU (International Units) of vitamin D can be produced. For comparison, a large fatty piece of fish might contain about 1,000IU. Importantly, persons with darker skin will also generate vitamin D from sun exposure, but not as efficiently due to the fact that darker skin contains more UV blocking melanin. This is a main reason why vitamin D deficiency can be more severe among people of color.”
Only sunscreens with a high SPF block the sun’s rays from penetrating your skin.
False! Even sunscreen with an SPF rate as low as 8 can block up to 98% of Vitamin D uptake(4).
If I eat an organic diet with emphasis on regular salmon, milk, and Vitamin D fortified foods, I’m getting enough.
Nope. Unless you’re eating 2 cups of raw, UV exposed portabella mushrooms or 3 cups worth of salmon every single day(5), you’re not getting enough. From the Harvard School of Public Health(6):
“For most people, the best way to get enough vitamin D is taking a supplement, but the level in most multivitamins (400 IU) is too low. Encouragingly, some manufacturers have begun adding 800 or 1,000 IU of vitamin D to their standard multivitamin preparations. If the multivitamin you take does not have 1,000 IU of vitamin D, you may want to consider adding a separate vitamin D supplement, especially if you don’t spend much time in the sun. Talk to your healthcare provider.”
Vitamin D isn’t actually a vitamin, it’s a hormone.
Mostly… true. This is actually a bit of a trick question, as Vitamin D isn’t technically a vitamin, yet it doesn’t become a hormone until it goes through some transformative processes. From Center of Nutrition Studies(7):
“Vitamin D is technically not a vitamin because humans have the capacity to produce it themselves through exposure to sunlight. Vitamin D is biologically inert and must undergo two chemical processes in the body for activation. The first occurs in the liver and converts vitamin D to a prehormone called calcidiol. The second occurs primarily in the kidney and forms the physiologically active hormone calcitriol.”
Human DNA contains over a million binding sites for calcitriol.
False. According to some internet sources, there are upwards of 2700 DNA binding sites for calcitriol(8)(9).
Vitamin D levels primarily impact bone health and calcium uptake.
False. Vitamin D has a profound impact on many systems and processes in the body beyond bone health, including heart health, cancer, immunity and autoimmune diseases, and diabetes, to name just a few(10).
Sitting outside in bright sun for 15-20 minutes a day will give you all the Vitamin D your body needs.
This one isn’t a trick question — but it remains an open ended question that cannot be definitively answered in a “one size fits all” fashion. If I had to choose either yes or no, though, I would go with no. False.
Vitamin D deficiency is a deeper and broader subject than the simple, concise answers given in most blogs. Typically, sunlight and/or Vitamin D enriched foods and/or supplementation are recommended. We have our blood levels of Vitamin D tested, and then adjust our intake accordingly, until the blood tests come back showing an adequate amount floating around in our bloodstream.
Here is where it gets more complicated. What about when your tested blood levels of Vitamin D3 are adequate, but you still don’t feel any different than before you started supplementing? What about people living in equator countries who spend much of their day outside, partially or scantily clothed — and they’re deficient in Vitamin D just like the rest of the billion people who are deficient?
It begs the question: is humanity losing the ability to harness the life supporting nutrients from the sun?
From the NIH Genetics Home Reference(11):
“The VDR protein attaches (binds) to the active form of vitamin D, known as calcitriol. This interaction allows VDR to partner with another protein called retinoid X receptor (RXR). The resulting complex then binds to particular regions of DNA, known as vitamin D response elements, and regulates the activity of vitamin D-responsive genes. By turning these genes on or off, the complex helps control calcium and phosphate absorption and other processes.”
If the D-responsive gene becomes mutated and no longer functions properly, do we know how to turn it back on again? Do we know why it mutated in the first place? This is an area not well understood yet by science, though there are new breakthroughs happening all the time, like in this study published by Science Daily(12), titled Discovery of a new on/off switch affecting cell-to-cell communications.
The bottom line is, so very many people are deficient nowadays that simply getting activated D3 into your bloodstream may no longer be enough. That activated D3 needs to get into the cell, where the nutrition is desperately needed.
10. Can The Trivedi Effect® positively impact Vitamin D absorption in the body?
In a word: yes!
The Trivedi Effect® is the harnessing of Life Force Energy directly from Nature and transmitting it to both living and non-living things for the purpose of bringing new and higher levels of vitality, potency, and potential. Listen to this engaging and informative talk given by Dahryn Trivedi at Nasdaq:
To learn more about The Trivedi Effect, please see the Programs Page on this website, or go to TrivediEffect.com. To learn more about the science of The Trivedi Effect, please see the Science Page on this website, or go to TrivediScience.com.
Well? How did you do on this month’s Fact or Fiction? At the least, I hope it has been thought provoking, especially given the serious nature of our global Vitamin D deficiency.
9 Holick MF. Vitamin D deficiency. N Engl J Med. 2007 Jul 19;357(3):266-81. Review.