Spotlight on Vitamin D

Woman soaking up vitamin D from the sun
Vitamin D is very important for the proper functioning of the human body. It is such an important vitamin, and steroid hormone, and this new information about vitamin D can hopefully dispel some misconceptions.

Vitamin D helps to metabolize calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc and iron. It helps with immune system activation by activating B and T cells, monocytes, and macrophages. Overall, it helps with cell-to-cell communication.

Vitamin D activates many enzyme pathways, such as:

  • Tyrosine converting to L-dopa, which is essential for mood
  • Cholesterol converting to pregnenolone, which is essential for proper hormone balance
  • Arginine converting to nitric oxide, which helps modulate peristalsis, airway tone, vascular tone, and insulin secretion 

It is the only vitamin that our bodies can actually manufacture. Ultraviolet B rays from the sun interact with 7-Dehydrocholesterol underneath our skin, and is converted into cholcalciferol (D3). This is then converted to 25-hydroxy-cholcalciferol. During a summer midday with 40 percent of one’s body exposed, it takes 20 minutes to get 20,000 IU of vitamin D. This is considered a good dose.

The problem with suntan lotion is that it does such a good job blocking the UV rays that also manufacture vitamin D. If you use suntan lotion, you are not getting vitamin D from the sun. I am one of those people—someone who goes on a Caribbean vacation and comes back paler than when I left. I have to use suntan lotion to avoid looking like a baked ham. Therefore, I also tend to need a supplemental vitamin D3.

The best way to obtain vitamin D is to get sun exposure for a maximum of 20 minutes with your shirt off (40 percent of your body exposed). If your last full-exposure to the sun was the end of September (when UVB is still adequate), then by December you will have very little left, because Vitamin D is stored in your fat and has a half life of six weeks. This is why so many people that live in the northern part of the country are Vitamin D deficient during the winter months.

Unfortunately, there aren’t many dietary sources of vitamin D. Oily fish and fish livers (cod liver) tend to be a good source.

When blood testing is performed to determine whether someone has adequate vitamin D, the marker that is used to test is 25-hydroxy-cholcalciferol. Generally, in the medical model, if numbers fall between 32–100 (ng/ml) it is seen as an adequate amount of 25-hydroxy-cholcalciferol. However, 25-hydroxy-cholcalciferol is not the activated form of vitamin D, rather it is converted to an activated form called 1,25 hydroxy-cholcalciferol in the kidneys, and also to another activated form called 24,25 cholcalciferol, which is converted by the prostate, testes, breasts, lungs, colon, skin and immune system.

What if someone does not have the proper ability to convert vitamin D or 25-hydroxy-cholcalciferol to an active form in the body? A person may have adequate vitamin D in their blood, but the body is unable to activate it to the forms that are necessary to be used for the immune system, enzymatic pathway regulation, and efficient calcium metabolism. In that case, the body has adequate vitamin D levels in the blood but is still deficient of its activated form. If one has a healthy level of blood vitamin D, but it is not able to be activated, then it cannot work to do all the things that vitamin D is meant to do in your body.

There is an unknown percentage of the population who have difficulty activating vitamin D. For these people, a vitamin D supplement is essential, and specifically one that is formulated with an oil that will catalyze the activation process. Black cumin seed oil helps the liver to produce enzymes for this activation process, and I have had great results using the combination vitamin D / black cumin seed oil in my practice.

The half lives of the activated forms of vitamin D (1,25 and 24,25) are minutes to hours, which makes it very difficult to measure in the blood because it gets broken down so quickly. Functional muscle and reflex testing can determine which form of vitamin D will be best for a person. Rarely will a solid form of vitamin D (pill or tablet) test functionally well for a patient. The majority of people require an oil form of vitamin D, because vitamin D is fat soluble.

Case Study

Shaina is a 42-year old woman who consulted with me for imbalances that she thought were related to her hormones. She had extreme menstrual irregularities and mood swings. She was taking bioidentical hormones, but didn’t find that her symptoms were improving. She was functionally tested, and also muscle tested, for Candida issues, vitamin D deficiency, and food sensitivities. After her Candida was resolved, her symptoms improved by about 30 percent, but she still had symptoms.

She had been taking vitamin D3 for many years, and her blood levels hovered around 60 ng/ml, which is considered a good vitamin D level. I tested her for the vitamin D3 supplement that she was taking, and discovered that it muscle tested neutral—meaning it wasn’t working for her. I then tested her for the vitamin D3 with black cumin seed oil, and this muscle tested very strong. After three weeks of her taking the D3/black cumin seed oil supplement, she expressed that her menstrual irregularities and mood were greatly improved. Now that her body was properly activating the vitamin D, she was able to attain the benefits of the vitamin.

Dr. Louis Granirer is a leading Holistic Chiropractor in NYC specializing in holistic remedies for good health maintenance and prevention of disease. Learn more by visiting his website at

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