As anyone who has read my regular posts online, you have learned that I am one of few wellness guys who isn’t ga-ga over Vitamin-D. It’s not the 1st time that I’ve cut against the grain in my career, but I want to offer an explanation that will hopefully explain my counter-cultural rationale…
In my humble opinion, Vit-D is the most misunderstood, but over-recommended supplement on the Planet. What is worth noting is that it is, in fact, a Hormone — not a Vitamin, and it is also the FIRST hormone to exist on Planet Earth. Hmmmm. So it’s been around for hundreds of millions of years, we as a species have co-existed with this Hormone for at least 6 million years, and NOW, all of a sudden in the last decade, it has become a crisis of Biblical proportions. Forgive me, but I’m not buying it. Why? Because very few practitioners have taken the time to fully understand exactly HOW this Hormone works or is metabolized in the Human Body.
OK, so let me start with a riddle… We all know that there is a layer of Cholesterol under our skin that when activated by the Sun gets converted into Hormone-D… right? Well, here’s the riddle: How is it that as Americans we have the HIGHEST levels of Cholesterol, and at the same time also have the LOWEST levels of Vit-D on this Planet?!?… Doesn’t make sense, does it? Actually it makes perfect sense, let me explain… (And no, it doesn’t have anything to do with exposure to Sun.)
Let’s go back to that conversion of Cholesterol into Hormone-D’s active form, Calcitriol… there are actually THREE metabolic transactions (under the Skin, in the Liver and in the Kidney) that convert that Cholecalciferol (pre-Hormone-D form) >> Calcidiol (Storage form, aka 25[OH]) >> Calcitriol (Active form, aka 1,25[OH]2). Now here’s where it gets fascinating… ALL of those transactions can ONLY happen when Magnesium is present in proper amounts! Huh? More hmmmm… You mean the Vit-D blood test (aka 25[OH] blood test) is actually a perfect blood test for Mg status? Yup! That’s EXACTLY what I’m saying… And it’s showing that almost everyone in America is woefully short on Maggie!
Given that Vit-D is a Hormone, it’s worth noting that ALL Hormones have a Target Cell and a Target Mission. Vit-D’s Target Cells are the Intestines, and its Target Mission is to have the Intestines ABSORB MORE CALCIUM AND PUT IT INTO THE BLOOD STREAM, AT THE EXPENSE OF MAGNESIUM ABSORPTION… So here’s what that famous blood test is ACTUALLY telling us: the blood test is measuring STORAGE Vit-D (Calcidiol) and it seems that everyone in America is now LOW… Why? Because the body in its innate wisdom KNOWS that there is TOO MUCH CALCIUM in the blood, so it is keeping the Storage Vit-D level low for two reasons: 1) there’s too much Calcium already in the blood; and 2) there’s not enough Magnesium to flip the Storage-D into Active-D. They are flip-sides of the same coin… And how do I know this empirically? I’ve witnessed very same dynamic on hundreds and hundreds of Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis tests on clients.
Right about now, you’re likely getting a headache… forgive me for that. Sometimes, the truth hurts. So when I here about all the wondrous things that “Vit-D” does, I immediately get suspicious. High doses of Vit-D, again — a very strong Hormone, puts significant demands on the Magnesium stores of our body to convert it to its Active status. And like any strong Hormone, it does have an impact, but there is also a heavy price to pay for it. Mildred S. Seelig, MD, one of the world’s greatest authorities on Magnesium, regarded excess Vit-D supplementation as a noted DRAIN on Mg status. And far too many “studies” on Vit-D measure Storage Vit-D levels (Calcidiol), and then in the course of those same “studies,” administer Active Vit-D as a treatment. In the Hospital setting, this is called “clinical science,” at a Carnival it is called “Bait & Switch…”
So what to do, please step back and re-read this post a couple of times until it begins to make more sense to you. What I can add is that there is a very small, growing and stubborn group of health-oriented practitioners that see this as the truth of Vit-D. In fact, every one of the Mg researchers that I’ve had the pleasure of talking with (~a dozen, so far…) does NOT supplement with Vit-D! Why? Because they know the metabolic truth of this very strong chemical, especially inside a Mg deficient body. (Just for the record, there are precious few in America who are NOT in a deficit position as it relates to their Mg status.)
Final comments, what to do? Get more sunshine! Up your Mg supplementation! And should you live near the North Pole or the Upper Midwest), do what your Scandinavian Ancestors did for thousands of years: eat foods that are infused with not just Magnesium, but also Vit-A, and Vit-K which are essential co-factors for the proper metabolism of Vit-D — and how many practitioners have commented on that critical aspect of Vit-D metabolism?!? Aside from Chris Masterjohn, PhD, and Carolyn Dean, MD, ND, the chorus is very, very thin. CAVEAT EATOR!
So, please eat grass-fed Liver, free-range eggs, wild-caught deep-sea fish. These are rich sources of the key nutrients noted above. The last thing I would be putting in my body, or the bodies of my clients, is a synthetically derived “Vitamin” that is made from sheep-skin oil (Lanolin) that is exposed to UV-B light in a factory. It doesn’t sound too natural to me, so I prefer the form that has worked flawlessly on this Planet for thousands of years, and seems to work on most continents outside of North America…
No doubt, this essay will chaff some the wrong way. I regret that, but know that my intent is not to create “Stress!”, but to further enlighten folks to the metabolic truth of how their bodies really work. I welcome any and all comments, and look forward to a greater understanding about this critically important topic, particularly as it relates to our shared commitment to “take Mo’ Maggie!”
A votre sante!
Morley speaks with Dr Ben Edwards about Hormone D.