Liquid Vitamin D | The #1 Vitamin You Need
According to the latest research, an estimated 42% of people in the United States are vitamin D deficient. Additionally, about 74% of elderly individuals and 82% of people with darker skin are thought to be vitamin D deficient. Considering that nearly every cell has a receptor for vitamin D, the current prevalence of vitamin D deficiency is nothing short of alarming. Since optimal levels are required to maintain dozens of systems in the body, it is important for everyone to know as much as possible about this key nutrient. Liquid Vitamin D makes the perfect solution to this problem!
Explore the basics of vitamin D and vitamin K, discover why liquid vitamin D is best for absorption, and learn about how to consistently consume the recommended amounts.
Where do we get vitamin D naturally?
As you probably already know, sun exposure provides the best source of vitamin D. While there is a select group of foods that contain vitamin D, the amount that the body receives from these foods is not sufficient. Rather than having to use energy to digest foods containing vitamin D, ultraviolet B (UVB) rays from the sun cause the body to naturally produce vitamin D. However since many parts of the world do not experience sufficient year-round sunlight, liquid vitamin D supplementation is essential.
The Types of Vitamin D
Vitamin D is classified as a fat-soluble vitamin. It functions more like a hormone in the body than a vitamin. As it works its way through the bloodstream, and moves into the cells, vitamin D can “tell” cells to turn genes on or off. Contrary to what you may believe, vitamin D is available in multiple forms. One of the most important forms of vitamin D is vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). Why? Vitamin D3 is the nutrient that is most responsible for preserving health, and helping individuals avoid the unpleasant symptoms and conditions associated with a vitamin D deficiency. Most medical experts agree that it is safer, easier for the body to absorb, and it is the most natural choice.
Absorption & Vitamin D genetics
In addition to a lack of adequate sun exposure, there are other contributing factors to the widespread prevalence of vitamin D deficiency. It is thought that one of the primary reasons that so many individuals are deficient in vitamin D3 is due to absorption issues. There are three major reasons that many people cannot consistently keep their vitamin D3 blood levels within a normal range. Your genetics, the way you consume vitamin D3, and the other vitamins you consume all determine how much vitamin D you ultimately absorb into your bloodstream.
First, those who have a certain gene variation are naturally low absorbers of the vitamin. Research has isolated the importance of the VDR fok gene (specifically, VDR fok Risk A allele) as it relates to the nutrient. Individuals with this variation can respond less to vitamin D, which requires consumption of higher quantities in order to achieve proper vitamin D blood levels. While it is best for everyone, it is crucial for individuals with this gene variation to choose liquid vitamin D, since it is more potent than other common forms (e.g. pill supplements). Not sure if you are affected by the VDR fok gene? Working with a qualified coach to receive a gene analysis is the most reliable way to know if you have this gene variation.
Liquid Vitamin D
Second, the way you consume vitamin D also plays a role in how much of the nutrient you absorb. Since it is fat soluble, be sure to take your liquid vitamin D supplement with the right food and beverage selections. Pair liquid vitamin D with a fatty meal, or with a blend of coconut oil/MCT oil and chamomile tea before bed (this is one of my favorite recipes!).
Finally, you are not what you eat, but what you absorb! If you aren’t absorbing much of your liquid vitamin D supplement due to a lack of supporting nutrients, you won’t experience the full range of benefits. Vitamin K2 (more about this vitamin shortly) is 100% essential for vitamin D3 to be properly absorbed. K2 is another top nutrient that is missing from our modern American diets. Failure to combine your liquid vitamin D supplement with vitamin K2 can equal low response. Additionally, when paired with vitamin D3, vitamin K2 pulls excess calcium out of the arteries, and helps more D3 enter into the bones. The latter is especially notable, since vitamin D3 has been shown to be a key player in maintaining bone health.
Vitamin K1 & K2
Now that you know how crucial of a role vitamin K2 plays in the absorption and effectiveness of vitamin D3, let’s take a moment to learn about this nutrient. In fact, let’s explore both vitamin K1 and K2, since they are both of importance when discussing vitamin D3. While they originate from separate sources, both vitamin K1 and K2 are key in maintaining overall health. Vitamin K1 is the naturally occurring form of vitamin K. It is most often found in vegetables such as kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage. Vitamin K2, on the other hand, is a product of fermentation.
Just like vitamin D, vitamin K is fat-soluble. The “plasma half-life of K1 is relatively short (around 2-8 hours), and its effects on activating important proteins in the body may only be maximal for about 8-12 hours after supplementation.” Unlike vitamin K1, vitamin K2 (MK-7) has an extensive plasma half-life. This long plasma half-life gives K2 the “special property of metabolizing slowly throughout the day, allowing the body the maximum time to reap its benefits.” Therefore, pairing K1 with the highly bioavailable vitamin K2 delivers “a comprehensive scope of vitamin K” to complement your liquid vitamin D supplement.
Optimizing Your Levels
Vitamin D and vitamin K work best when taken together since they are both needed for optimal bone and arterial health, as well as for maintaining a healthy immune system. One unique feature of vitamin K is its ability to keep the important bone protein, osteocalcin, carboxylated. Undercarboxylated osteocalcin is inefficient in regulating calcium levels, which causes it to “freely circulate in the bloodstream.” Deposits can end up in the soft tissues of the arterial walls or kidneys (a process known as calcification). Repeated calcification in various parts of the body can eventually become harmful, as it can lead to disruption of the proper functioning of organs.
Vitamin D Research
One study that focused on postmenopausal women (who were given a vitamin D supplement with minerals) “showed a worsening of the elasticity of the arteries.” In a second group that was given a supplement with vitamin D, vitamin K, and minerals, “artery elasticity remained stable” (Braam LA, et al, Thromb Haemost. 2004). The reason for the results was due to their interaction “in the use of MGP, Matrix Gla Protein, which is a strong inhibitor of arterial calcification.” The expression of MGP is dependent on vitamin D, and the gamma-carboxylation step is vitamin K dependent.
A second study that was conducted at Wake Forest University stated that “hyperlipidemia, vitamin D, nicotine, and warfarin, alone or in various combinations, produce arterial calcification in animal models.” MGP has also “recently been discovered to be an inhibitor of bone morphogenetic protein-2, the principal osteogenic growth factor. Vitamin K deficiency, drugs that act as vitamin K antagonists, and oxidant stress are forces that could prevent the formation of Gla residues on MGP” (Wallin R, eta al, Med Res Rev. 2001). So what does this all mean? The study shows that vitamin D alone is not beneficial for bone health. Instead, vitamin K is also needed for “directing the transport of calcium into bone and teeth for optimal strength.”
Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency
Despite the whole body impact that vitamin D has on the body, vitamin D deficiency does not always manifest itself through obvious symptoms. In fact, a vitamin D deficiency can occasionally be asymptomatic. This is potentially one reason that so many people live with insufficient levels for far longer than they should. However, when symptoms are present, they can range from unpleasant to serious. Below are just a sample of known vitamin D deficiency symptoms and conditions.
- Increased susceptibility to illness (vitamin D has been shown to protect against the cold and flu)
- Increased risk of certain types of cancer
- Muscle weakness
- Body aches and pains
In addition to these symptoms, maintaining proper vitamin D levels helps promote healthy testosterone, cholesterol, DHEA, and other hormone levels.
What is considered to be an optimal level of vitamin D3?
Most standard labs have set the current “normal” range for vitamin D as being between 30-100ng/ml. As you might have already noticed, this range is far too broad. Instead, a good place to start is between 60-85ng/ml for most individuals. Additionally, these levels should be tested yearly to ensure that a deficiency has not developed. Individuals who are struggling with certain conditions (such as low testosterone, diabetes, or cardiovascular problems) should aim for a higher level by taking additional liquid vitamin D.
What are the best ways to increase vitamin D3 intake?
In addition to producing vitamin D as a result of sun exposure, supplementation of liquid vitamin D is needed for almost all individuals to maintain proper levels. As discussed earlier, liquid vitamin D is absorbed better by the body, and less is needed to achieve desired results. Therefore, it is important to seek a high quality liquid vitamin D supplement for daily use.
In addition to liquid vitamin D supplementation, there are a few foods that are a good source of the nutrient. Here are some of the top food choices when looking to enhance your vitamin D intake:
- Fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, sardines or trout: A small, 3-ounce serving of cooked salmon (85 g) contains 75% of the RDI.
- Egg yolks: One large egg yolk contains 7% of the RDI.
- Cod liver oil: A single tablespoon contains 227% of the RDI.