An Interview with WellnessWiz Jack Tips
- Vitamin D supplementation can hurt you if you don’t do it right.
- Don’t take Vitamin D by itself! It should ALWAYS be accompanied by certain key nutriments.
- Important to test your Vitamin D (There’s a home test! – Special Offer!)
- The best flu-preventative program (not a shot!)
Q. What’s this “dangerous” situation with Vitamin D?
WWJ. Because of its importance and amazing health properties, Vitamin D3 deserves to be the molecule of the year. It’s a pre-hormone, a cellular function activator and regulator, steroid, essential for bone health, and necessary for proper immune system function. Further, it supports body composition (fat to muscle ratio), and activates some 3000 genes—ones that impact blood pressure, insulin production, brain health, and numerous disease-preventative cellular functions, thus is considered “anti-cancer”.
Over the past few years, Vitamin D3 has been researched, touted, and marketed like crazy. The problem is, without it’s supportive co-factors, there can be dire consequences of taking supplemental Vitamin D3 by itself. This is such an important point, I actually consider companies that market Vitamin D3 as a single ingredient without properly educating people to be unscrupulous.
Q. What kind of consequences?
WWJ. Heart disease, calcified arteries, hypercalcemia (turns tissues to cement), calcium deposits in the joints, kidney stones, causes magnesium deficiencies, and creates relative deficiencies in other fat-soluble vitamins such as A, E, and especially K2.
Q. Why would so many companies sell Vitamin D products that could potentially cause damage?
WWJ. Well, I can’t speak for the companies and where their hearts are, but historically the nutrition supplement business has been caveat emptor—buyer beware. Because the credo of Natural Health established by it’s father, Hippocrates, is ‘First Do No Harm;’ it’s incumbent on practitioners to provide patients with high quality, well thought-out supplements. But many people read an article—such as the terrific ones in the New York Times or Time Magazine—that reveal the critical importance and benefits of Vitamin D3, and then order the cheapest product they can find. So there are manufacturers that cater to the quick, make-a-buck sales—and what they are doing is perfectly legal—but it’s not right.
Q. So what makes a good vitamin D supplement?
WWJ. First and foremost is the sun. Okay, I know you’re asking about supplementation. But the best Vitamin D is sunlight on the skin. There is no substitute for sunlight. Supplements help, but they don’t accomplish exactly the same thing. Ex: Sun-vitamin D (7-dehydrocholesterol) is processed in the skin [before it goes to the liver to become 25-hydroxy vitamin D, and then to the kidneys for processing into the steroid hormone 1,25 dihydroxy vitamin D] and creates and new molecule called cholesterol sulfate—a much-needed, valuable molecule for heart and cell
Q. So why so much frenzy about supplementing with Vitamin D?
WWJ. Not only is it critically important for hundreds of aspects of health, there’s a pandemic deficiency of Vitamin D in children (and also adults). The synthetic Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) added to milk is of little value, and children have been admonished by doctors to stay out of the sun.
Sadly, people have been taught to fear the sun instead of learning common sense respect that sunlight is an essential “nutrient” for a healthy life. People have become sun phobic and avid uses of toxic sunscreen lotions. The true and responsible teaching would be how to get the proper amount of sunshine safely, thus to avoid sunburn, damaged DNA, aging skin, wrinkles, melanomas, and carcinomas. This situation is an example where the purported “cure” of hiding from the sun (which causes Vitamin D3 deficiencies) is generally worse than the diseases that damaging exposure could cause – both sun damage and Vitamin D3 deficiency leads to cancers, but with Vitamin D3 deficiency, the person’s quality of life is diminished over the 20 years it takes for sun damage to develop into a
Historically over thousands of years, the human body adapted and developed a beneficial relationship with the sun (e.g. the creation of Vitamin D3 and cholesterol sulfate). The fear of sunshine increased in the 1980’s with the alarming rise in skin damage occurring after humans destroyed part of the Earth’s ozone (O3) layer via aerosol can propellants, industrial air pollution, and air conditioner refrigerant. The sun’s less-filtered ultraviolet-B and cosmic rays starting hitting the skin with more force as holes in the ozone occurred resulting in more skin cancers. This phenomenon, coupled with poor nutrition (people started avoiding dietary Vitamin D3 in meat, milk, and eggs based on doctors’ errant advisement), created iatrogenic-driven seeds of destruction for human health.
Fortunately, people rallied, consumers changed, manufacturer- and environmental-protective laws have helped stop the destruction of the Earth’s protective ozone layer—a tremendous example of people working together to help solve a global crisis! Science predicts that by 2080, the Earth’s ozone layer may return to its 1950 level. Right now, the ozone hole is over Antarctica and is contributing to warming and climate change there, so we’ve not yet escaped the consequences.
Q. So people turned to supplementation.
WWJ. Right. And, on a personal note, because I work indoors all day, I supplement with Vitamin D3 and test my levels every 6 months to maintain an optimal blood level of 25 Hydroxy D, which for me is: 70 ng/ml. I grab some sunshine whenever I can in the mid-morning whenever my schedule allows. Even down here in Texas, the ability to make Vitamin D3 from sun is greatly reduced in the wintertime.
Q. What about getting sunshine on the skin in the wintertime?
WWJ. The fat-soluble vitamins are squirreled away in the body for winter, but if the person did not store enough, there won’t be enough; and low Vitamin D3 in the winter is the perfect recipe for catching colds and flu.
The issue with winter is that the sun’s rays are more slanted and our bodies do not generate Vitamin D from sunlight so well in the winter, if at all. And it’s too cold to wear a bikini or speedo in Bismarck in January. Another reason why savvy people take a good vitamin D supplement in winter – and that’s actually better flu prevention than the flu shot for many reasons.
Q. Thanks for the historic perspective. Now, what makes a good Vitamin D formula? How do we “do it right?”
WWJ. In Clinical Nutrition, we know that all the fat-soluble vitamins— A, D, E, F, and K – work together as a team that in the body, they function best within certain ratios. So here’s the problem with supplementing Vitamin D3 by itself. It creates a “relative deficiency” in Vitamin K2. Simply put, Vitamin D3 mobilizes calcium, but it’s vitamin K2 that takes it to the bone matrix for strength and storage. (Vitamin K1 supports blood clotting.) Without a balancing Vitamin K2, a protein called osteocalcin fails to activate and transport calcium to the bones. Thus the calcium can build up in the soft tissues (breasts, thyroid, brain), arteries (atherosclerosis), and heart; and interfere with health.
All too often people tell me, “My functional medicine doctor put me on 5000 iu of Vitamin D3 per day.” I’ll ask, “What about the Vitamin K2 that’s essential to prevent damage to your heart and arteries?” The person replies, “Oh, I’m not taking any Vitamin K2.” Not good!
Then I’ll ask, “Are you taking magnesium?” Why? Because increasing Vitamin D3 also increases the need for magnesium which is used in Vitamin D3 metabolic processes. All too often the answer is, “No.” So magnesium already in pandemic deficiency, the supplemental Vitamin D3 creates a further deficiency by demanding and using more of the limited supply. This can result in muscle cramps and heart rhythm concerns as well as mitochondrial energy production problems.
Further, studies show that if a person is deficient in Vitamin D3, that the inclusion of magnesium with Vitamin D3/K2 supplementation will hasten remediation of the deficiency over just taking vitamin D3 alone. Because magnesium works to balance calcium, people who are deficient in Magnesium are more prone to depositing Calcium in the arteries. Increase the D3 via supplementation with Vitamin K2 and magnesium and all is well, but without those synergists, you can see where there’s a double or triple whammy where errant supplementation of Vitamin D3 by itself can create problems.
Q. What about Vitamin D toxicity?
WWJ: All fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the body, especially the liver. If too much is taken supplementally, it can reach a “too much” or toxic level. Not good!
Vitamin A was one of the first vitamins cited for toxicity concerns, but the toxicity levels were obtained with synthetic Vitamin A which is not the same as the natural Vitamin A. People are documented thriving on eating polar bear liver and getting doses of 200,000 iu of natural vitamin A in a meal, but if taking that amount via a synthetic supplement, it would be quite toxic. Just think of the Rx Retin-A side effects (liver damage) caused by prescriptive synthetic Vitamin A. This would not have happened if natural Vitamin A were employed.
Vitamin D also has a toxicity level—largely because too much will calcify tissues and can cause death. In fact, there is a super-killer rat poison that is nothing more than simple Vitamin D for that reason. But, no worries. Please understand, a person would have to take a ginormous amounts of Vitamin D by itself to reach toxicity and some 50% of the population is deficient, so regarding taking supplemental Vitamin D, a person would have to eat the entire bottle every day to get to that amount. But still, some people are indeed taking huge amounts, e.g. sometimes doctors recommend 50,000 iu in a “loading dose” and use high amounts to manipulate blood test results. Or they take 5000 iu/day every day for a long time.
Q. What is too much Vitamin D?
WWJ. Generally it’s a blood level of 100 ng/ml or higher. Because there is a toxicity issue, the responsible position is to test your blood levels.
I do believe that people need to supplement with Vitamin D3. Actually, I’m certainly on the supplemental Vitamin D3+synergists bandwagon. We’re just not getting enough sunshine on our skin and the body’s demand for Vitamin D3 is so critically important. A “naturalist” person can get free Vitamin D3 from the sun by exposure of 30% of the skin surface to 15 minutes of gentle morning sun, and a wholesome diet provides the other vitamins and minerals to make sunshine-D work just fine.
But most people need to supplement and not live in deficiency which is tantamount to being prone to
getting cancer, osteoporosis, chronic fatigue, mental decline, etc. Here’s some key reasons it’s important
with the right kind of Vitamin D supplement:
- Pandemic deficiencies exist throughout the world
- The toxic environment increases the need to support the body’s innate anti-DNA-damage faculties. Supplementation.
- People do not get enough from dietary sources.
- People do not get enough safe sunshine on their skin.
- Vitamin D supports normal immune system activities.
- Vitamin D is, imho, more effective than a toxic, short-sighted flu shot for preventing colds and flu.
Q. Are their other considerations regarding Vitamin D3 supplementation?
WWJ: So we mentioned Vitamin A. It’s also important to supplement Vitamin A if you are taking Vitamin D3. In fact, Vitamin A helps prevent Vitamin D toxicity! And in reciprocity, Vitamin D helps prevent Vitamin A toxicity. Further, Vitamin A plays an important role in preventing calcium from building up in the soft tissues. So this drives home the point that all the fatsoluble vitamins work together. They really should not be fractioned out in supplements, but work synergistically together. Balance in all things!
Q. Now for the simple solution, please.
WWJ: First, test yourself! Find out if your Vitamin D3 is less or more than optimal. This is best done by a simple do-it-yourself at home blood spot test for 25 hydroxy vitamin D. That’s the best test. Knowing your blood level is important for determining the optimal daily dose.
Q. Thanks so much for sharing the reasons behind what you do. It just makes sense to do it right. Any other thoughts?
WWJ: Hummm. Think I’m going to go take my daily one capsule right now. Best wishes in your natural health endeavors!