Why is my vitamin D always low?
Chronic conditions- cystic fibrosis, crohns disease, celiac disease, intestinal absorption issues
Trouble with fat absorption- vit d accumulates in fat cells, and is a fat-soluble vitamin. If you can’t absorb and process fats correctly- you can’t absorb and process vitamin d correctly.
Kidney disease- the kidneys make an enzyme that converts vit d to the active form. Without this enzyme- you cant activate and use vitamin d.
Skin issues- aging and those with darker skin are those that are likely to have lower vit d levels. Melanin absorbs the sun’s rays before it can trigger vitamin d production.
Certain medications- laxatives, steroids, some cholesterol medicines like colestipol, some seizure meds like phenobarb and phenytoin, a TB drug rifampin, and a weight loss drug (orlistat) all cause low levels. Additionally- there are SO MANY drug-induced nutrient depletions that happen with commonly used meds. Talk to your pharmacist/provider about the minerals and vitamins your medications are pulling out of your body.
Bariatric surgery/ weight loss surgery- due to changes in the gi tracts, you have less intestinal absorption for vitamin d.
Low magnesium levels: Magnesium regulates the activity of critical enzymes in vitamin D metabolism, which would explain how magnesium deficiency negatively affects vitamin D status.
Low levels of sun exposure- people homebound, or like me and work all the sunny hours of the day inside are missing out.5-30 minutes twice a week is what researchers state is enough time in the sun. These are also the same people that say the upper limit of vit d is 2000 iu daily… and couldn’t decide if it was essential for health around the year 2020.. after decades of touting the risks of being deficient in it..
Fatigue, muscle pain, muscle cramps and weakness, bone pain, thinning hair, mood changes, depression, osteoporosis, and osteomalacia are all symptoms and conditions associated with low vitamin d. It’s literally needed by every cell in your body to function properly. I also don’t favor taking a super strong dose of this hormone/vitamin once a week (in a form that has a lot of aluminum due to the blue dyes in it).. would you drink a weeks worth of water at one time? Eat a weeks worth of food in one sitting? Instead of focusing on how many units you are taking (in one mega dose or in a consistent daily dose)- focus on getting your levels to 50 or above. There’s some great studies looking at the effects of having a level of 50 or higher (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-69128-2) – like fighting against cardiac disease and reducing body fat.
For an AMAZING reference to Vitamin D- check out this link: https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/vitamins/vitamin-D
End of the day- get tested. Find out your levels. There are finger-prick tests that can test for Vitamin D levels that can be ordered for you. Shoot for a level of 50 or above.
Consider daily supplementation.
Have your Pharmacist/provider evaluate your diet, lifestyle, medications, and supplements that could be causing a low level.
If you're vitamin d is low, other labs will be off as well. Check magnesium, PTH, calcium, calcitonin, cholesterol, liver function, and kidney function.
If they can't figure it out- meet with a functional provider to get a thorough history and start piecing together the root cause issues.
And please- take a D3/K2 version!