Vitamin D: Vitamin or Hormone?

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Is Vitamin D a nutrient or could it treat many of our health issues?

Vitamin D stands out from all other nutraceuticals because it is one of the very few vitamins that the body is able to produce on its own given the right conditions. Of course the correct condition is only when healthy skin is exposed to sunlight.   

A nutraceutical is a food containing health-giving additives and having medicinal benefits.

The History of Research

One of the heroes in the history of D would be Dr John Cannell. He formed the site, Vitamin D Council, which educated the public and the healthcare professionals regarding this vitamin and its tremendous potential for health. Dr Cannell’s mind was mentally sparked 25 years ago. He realized our human body produces approximately 1,000 units of Vitamin D a minute when sunbathing if the body has low levels.

This was the epiphany moment for Dr Cannell that spurred him to educate the public and healthcare professionals on the life saving gifts of adding Vitamin D to our diets. He reasoned that our ancestors were all sunbathing for a million years while evolving in Africa. That obviously meant we naturally produced enough Vitamin D daily. And this fact leads us to believe how lifesaving Vitamin D is to our health.

Natural Sources

As mentioned, our bodies create Vitamin D. However, our bodies need regular exposure to sunlight’s UVB rays in order to produce adequate amounts for our health. Cholesterol in our skin takes sunlight and turns it into Vitamin D our bodies can use. The majority of us do not spend enough time outdoors. Or we no longer get outside on a daily basis. Some of us even live in areas that don’t get much sunlight in the winter.

Read here about the Effect of Vitamin Dosing on Your Body.

If we turn to food to help us produce the right amounts of this vitamin, the following foods have small amounts:

  • Salmon
  • Mackeral
  • Tuna
  • Cod Liver Oil
  • Egg Yolks
  • Fungi

However, it’s nearly impossible to eat enough of these foods to create the daily amount our bodies need.

So, what can we do to get adequate amounts? We can take daily supplements.

→ Shop All Vitamin D Supplements

The Two Types

Did you know there are actually two types of Vitamin D? D2 naturally occurs in plants and fungi. Animals produce D3, including humans. The two types are similar in molecular structure. And most scientists don’t know if one is more effective than another for human health.

However, our bodies naturally produce Vitamin D3 with exposure to sunlight. And while both forms of vitamins increase our body levels, supplementation with Vitamin D3 has a greater impact on the Vitamin D levels.

Vitamin D as a Hormone

Actually unknown to most in the field of health is that Vitamin D is a steroid hormone precursor that is made in the skin upon exposure to sunlight. Activated Vitamin D controls hundreds of genes within all humans. Vitamin D works to turn genes off and on and actually goes directly to the chromosome, right next to the DNA. There it signals our DNA to start making a protein, enzyme, vitamin or something of importance to our health. 

Secondly, Vitamin D activates the macrophage part of the immune system. Macrophages act as the army and first line soldiers when we get infected. They “eat” and kill micro-organisms. Then they remove the dead cells. And then they stimulate other immune cell functions.

macrophage cells eating fat cells to destroy microorganisms

Macrophages ingesting microorganisms

Without adequate Vitamin D this process becomes far less effective which equates to longer time to recover from infection.   

This mechanism of action within the body indicates the potential for Vitamin D to support and improve the health of millions of individuals. But even today very few health professionals are testing their patients for their D levels. is the most respected site for maintaining the current credible research in the field of health. Pubmed has 99,395 results for posting studies regarding Vitamin D and health at this time. This strongly suggests this vitamin is worthy of being taken seriously by non-believers just from the standpoint of research.    

Before I list the potential therapeutic treatments that involve Vitamin D for our health we must ask the serious question:

If Vitamin D is truly a health miracle, why is my doctor not mentioning or testing me for it?  

We believe there’s little incentive to promote the medical benefits of this vitamin. That means all nutraceuticals, (vitamins used in treatment in disease) cannot be patented. The need for massive profits for the pharmaceutical industry require that they have a period of years that allow them to have no competition in order to incentivize the company to invest millions to get approval.  

Without patent rights there is no reasonable method to recoup the high cost of approval so obviously no company would take an interest in getting a vitamin approved for prescription status. I understand the catch 22 situation. But sadly this system filters down to far less options for the practicing physician and removes the benefits patients could receive.  

We must shoulder the burden to “take control of our own health” by searching the facts. Individuals have to find how to maintain optimal health within a scope of trusted individuals rather than relying on our media or doctors to inform us.   

Historical Traditional Treatment of Vitamin D

The traditional view of Vitamin D throughout history focused on a single disease called rickets. Rickets caused weakening of the bones which produced deformity in children.   

During my first 3 decades in the nutrition business we rarely sold many Vitamin D supplements and the reason was that blood testing had really never been done on individuals. Once the blood tests became available it was instantly clear how deficient the majority of individuals in many countries of the world including the United States were regarding Vitamin D levels.   

The wonderful news is that due to the information on D deficiencies many researchers became passionate about studies and began research studies in the thousands. All this revealed critically examining many diseases only to discover that the Vitamin D story had an positive impact on hundreds of health conditions which was never recognized before.

I feel it may go down as one of the major discoveries toward health in the past many decades.    

Risks of Vitamin D Deficiency

Here is only a small sampling of conditions that have association with low Vitamin D:

  1.  ADD
  2. Alzheimers
  3. Asthma
  4. Cancer
  5. Cognition
  6. Depression
  7. Fibromyalgia
  8. Gut health
  9. Hypertension
  10. Multiple Sclerosis
  11. Parkinson’s
  12. Restless Legs
  13. Shingles
  14. Urinary Tract Health
  15. Immune system

I believe Vitamin D to be similar to an air traffic controller that regulates the safety of planes flying many directions. Vitamin D’s effects on gene expression empowers it to contribute to the healing of many disorders by balancing, silencing or activating hundreds of genes within our physiology.   

Read Here for More on Vitamin D Deficiency

Levels for Optimal Health

When testing Vitamin D the testing ranges from 32ng/ml to 100ng/ml. In order to maintain health, experts believe everyone should have at least 32ng/ml. This serves as a foundation for maintaining health. However, to actually ‘treat’ a health disorder our bodies may require supplementation to get to the 70ng/ml to 90ng/ml range.  

This requires supplementing with a dose of vitamin D. Then we retest in 6 to 8 weeks to observe if we achieved the target levels. Finding a healthcare practitioner with experience can help.

→ Dr. Bryan Johnson can advise on optimal levels for you.

I recommend always doing Vitamin D with breakfast or lunch. This vitamin gets transported by our fat cells so our bodies can convert it to a useable form. Taking D Supplements with foods that contain fat for efficient transport. Vitamin D in some individuals is reliant on magnesium. So for those who struggle with raising the blood level numbers they may require additional magnesium.  

Avoiding Risks

For those interested in adding more punch to your D-power, I recommend adding Vitamin K. Vitamin K helps to direct the Vitamin D more effectively.

The biggest risk from taking D Supplements, comes from calcium in the blood. Taking D Supplements with Vitamin K lessens the potential for side effects if levels get too high. The danger of excessive D-levels is that it can allow calcium to build at an unhealthy rate within the body. This generally only happens if over 110ng/ml for an extended period of time. Vitamin K prevents calcium from accumulating in soft tissues.

If you have health conditions we must recommend consulting your health professional before starting higher dosage treatment.   

→ Shop Vitamin D + Vitamin K Supplement

Blood Testing for Optimal Levels

Optimal blood level testing can be done at your doctors office. However, know that insurance rarely pays and cash prices may not be reasonable. Finding walk-in blood testing is generally more value-priced.  The last option is to order your test through the internet and go to your local drawing station.  Here is one company I recommend.

Vitamin D is a crucial component of our human system and physiology and for so little money the downstream effects could save tens of thousands of  lives and lessen suffering by potentially millions.   

Take control of your health and get tested soon!  

Disclaimer. The information on this website and the topics discussed have not been evaluated by the FDA. Or, any one of the medical profession. And it is not aimed to replace any advice you may receive from your medical practitioner. Nutrition World assumes no responsibility or liability whatsoever on the behalf of any purchaser or reader of any of these materials. Nutrition World is not a doctor, nor does it claim to be. Please consult your physician before beginning any health regimen. If you are being treated for any medical illness, check with your medical professional before starting any protocol