Vitamin D deficiency and inflammation link

Desiree Posts: 255 ✭✭✭
edited July 2020 in General Health

I am doing some research on the link between Vitamin D Deficiency and Inflammation. I keep falling into the rabbit hole chasing after one fact or another. (I am quite surprised at the number of people being diagnosed worldwide as deficient in this critical vitamin (myself being one). I know that I receive enough sunlight because I am outdoors more than average. The problem seems to be that my body is using it all up and I can't make enough. Inflammation was just one of the things I found could be using it up and I have been trying to find more information on it so that I can have an intelligent discussion with my healthcare provider in a month.

Does anyone have any reliable resources on this topic that I can use?


  • stephanie447
    stephanie447 Posts: 404 ✭✭✭

    Have you gotten tested for Vitamin D blood levels? I'm curious as to what the test results say.

  • annebeloncik
    annebeloncik Posts: 62 ✭✭✭

    I have kind of chronically low vitamin D as well, and I am outside quite a bit year round. I didn't know about the inflammation link, but it makes total sense to me. Could that also drive up cholesterol levels, do you suppose? I have read about a cholesterol/vitamin D link.

  • Desiree
    Desiree Posts: 255 ✭✭✭

    @stephanie447 I was tested a couple years ago because I struggle with statins for cholesterol. I am one of those who get horrible leg muscle pains. My first Vit D test was 8 (norm is 30+) I was put on a macro dose of 50,000iu 3xday for 3 days, 2xday for 3 days and then 1xday for one day just to get my level up. I now am on maintenance dose of 1,000iu 2xday.

    I am researching the inflammation link because I read an article that linked the Vit D deficiency (and bad cholesterol level) to chronic inflammation. The premise being that my body IS producing what it needs but the inflammation is using it up and then my blood serum tests are showing low. If that is the case I would need to address the root cause of the inflammation. THAT is the rabbit hole I keep falling into. It is hard to find good science or good natural remedy information to address this premise. Any reliable info would be great!

  • stephanie447
    stephanie447 Posts: 404 ✭✭✭

    Now that you are on a maintenance dose, have you had your D levels rechecked and if so, what are they?

  • Desiree
    Desiree Posts: 255 ✭✭✭

    @stephanie447 I just had it checked last week, I checked my report and it was 36 which is good. Unfortunately my cholesterol was still high and I know when I go to see the doctor on Friday she is going to want to up the statin and I don't want to do that.

  • stephanie447
    stephanie447 Posts: 404 ✭✭✭

    36 is the normal range I believe, though I think some functional doctors might want to see it a bit higher. What are you doing for the inflammation?

  • kbmbillups1
    kbmbillups1 Posts: 1,318 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Desiree You can search for it on He has a ton of info on his site. Also, I searched on DuckDuckGo and found several research papers. I know every doctor I follow says to take vitamin D but most aren't conventional MD's.

    I was tested a couple years ago and the doctors office said I was low. I stopped wearing sunscreen and started taking Vitamin D supplements. They told me wearing sunscreen blocks my body from making Vitamin D from the sun. I know not wearing sunscreen isn't for everyone but it was the best thing I did besides taking the supplements.

  • Jens the Beekeeper
    Jens the Beekeeper Posts: 643 admin

    Besides inflammation and the body not producing enough Vit D parasites can absorb vitamin D just as an additional train of thought.

    Getting enough nutrition in for the body to be able to produce the Vit D is obvious.

  • tomandcara
    tomandcara Posts: 712 ✭✭✭✭
    edited August 2020

    @Desiree I like for research an information. My professional opinion is I want to see my patients have their Vit D levels in the range of 80-100 ng/ml which is higher than wants.

    Here is a copy of part an email from about Vit D and inflammation:

    "Vitamin D3 Itself Creates Profound Anti-Inflammatory Effects

    Low levels of vitamin D have been consistently linked to an increased risk of inflammatory diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, arthritis, multiple sclerosis (MS), and sepsis. Also common among inflammatory based diseases is the disruption in the tightness and stability of endothelial and vascular tissues. (Endothelial cells form the inner lining of the heart and blood vessels (veins, arteries, capillaries) and the lymphatic system.) This disruption contributes to dysfunctional nutrient exchange, inflammatory cell migration, and abnormal clotting. Addressing this disruption has been shown to lessen the effects from the inflammatory diseases involved.

    'Vitamin D3 Shown to have Profound Effects on Endothelial and Vascular Stability

    A study by Gibson et al. looked at a genetic inflammatory disease called cerebral cavernous malformation (CCM) to identify potential suppressors of the disease and resulting destabilization of the endothelial membranes. They found vitamin D3, the pre-converted form that our bodies get from food, supplements and sun, to have such effects both in vitro and in vivo. In a subsequent study, the researchers investigated whether vitamin D3 and its metabolites could provide general endothelial stability outside of the genetic disease model.

    'While it has been shown that some vitamin D3 is absorbed directly into and utilized within the cells themselves, the majority of vitamin D3 goes to the liver for its first conversion process, 25-hydroxylation. This process converts vitamin D3 into 25-hydroxyvitamin D (or 25(OH)D), which is the form of vitamin D that is measured in the blood as an indication of an individual's overall vitamin D status. Conversion of 25(OH)D into what is commonly known as the "active" form of vitamin D, 1,25(OH)2D (or 1,25D), is done mostly in the kidneys as part of vitamin D's function within the endocrine system. Learn more about what happens to the vitamin D we take or make within the body here. Most of the attention in research has been on these two metabolites of vitamin D, 25(OH)D and 1,25(OH)2D.

    'Could There be More to Native Vitamin D3 Than Previously Thought?

    'In previous posts, we have discussed the newly appreciated observation that vitamin D3 is delivered directly to all tissues of the body. Many of these tissues, such as breast, colon, prostate, and brain, can convert vitamin D to its active form within the tissue. It is through this process that vitamin D can help enable the cells to fight against infections, disease, and autoimmune disorders.

    'Gibson et al. discovered that, not only is vitamin D3 itself needed and taken in by the cells, it is also actively used by the cells as a "potent and general mediator of endothelial stability at physiologically relevant levels." They found that each form of vitamin D (vitamin D3, 25(OH)D and 1,25(OH)2D) increased stability within minutes, inhibiting permeability of the endothelial and vascular lining, and reversing inflammation, all of which resulted in reduced leakage into surrounding tissues.  Of particular note in the results was that vitamin D3, which was previously thought to be inactive, had the most potent effect - more than 10 times more potent than 1,25(OH)2D and more than 1,000 times more potent than 25(OH)D. They also discovered that vitamin D3 directly inhibited the destabilizing effects of multiple pro-inflammatory signals, such as interleukin-1b, tumor necrosis factor-a, and bacterial lipopolysaccharides.

    'Overall, the data from this study shows that vitamin D sterols, especially vitamin D3 itself, acts directly to suppress and prevent destabilization of the endothelial membranes and its negative effects. This direct action of vitamin D3, along with the knowledge that the half-life of vitamin D3 in the body is roughly 24 hours, is further evidence in support of daily dosing and/or UVB exposure.

    Link to our page here for a detailed explanation of the importance of vitamin D: "

    EDIT: Removed ad content

  • Karin
    Karin Posts: 272 ✭✭✭

    @Desiree are you saying you are on statins? If so, that is why your vitamin D levels are so low - our body makes vitamin D from cholesterol, using the action of the sun on our skin. No cholesterol - no vitamin D. Cholesterol is a vital nutrient and actually has nothing to do with heart disease, while as statins cause many many unwanted effects without lessening risk of heart attacks.

  • Ferg
    Ferg Posts: 285 ✭✭✭
    edited August 2020

    these ol' vitamins are more important than folks hawking nasty pharmacological agents want to admit.

    It is a real thing that for some reason, developing nations humans are having vitamin d issues. I'm also on a bunch of it and it does seem to help with a chronic pain issue. Mine is a more complicated issue as I have a hematological mutation that also leads to a sort of pernicious anemia, with lots of issues that are really helped by the right kind of B12 and lots of folate.

    My very short answer (cuz I could literally go on some sort of scientist pathway-bender that would cause all of you to go to sleep) is ... Probably the crap in the environment is blocking or changing receptor points. Lots of good candidates out there. We (people in developed nations as a generic construct) haven't been very good about paying attention to garbage that goes into our food, clothes, air, blahblahblah.

    EDIT: Inappropriate language. Just a friendly reminder to all to keep it clean as this is a family friendly site. ~ Laurie

  • Grounded
    Grounded Posts: 153 ✭✭✭

    Wow, what a broad topic. I too have run down many a rabbit hole on the subject of inflammation. Everything from diet to exercise can either exacerbate or reduce inflammation.

    I don't know your age, but I have read that as we age, we don't absorb/utilize vitamin D as well as when younger. No particular foods that supply vitamin D. Supplementation is advised, but if you are worried about inflammation eating away at vitamin D stores, then you have to reduce the inflammation and that's where it seems to get more complicated. We each have unique inflammation triggers. Diet, stress levels, sleep patterns, mental and physical fitness, genes, etc. . . I have not found any easy fixes and don't know if I would trust anyone who says that there are any.

  • stephanie447
    stephanie447 Posts: 404 ✭✭✭

    Vitamin D assimilation from the sun also depends on skin tone. The darker the skin, the less vitamin D is produced in the sun. It may be why blacks are more likely to get serious complications from coronavirus - more vitamin D deficiency.

  • seeker.nancy - Central Texas
    seeker.nancy - Central Texas Posts: 795 ✭✭✭✭

    When I was tested about 4 years ago mine was low; I don't remember the number. But I did the 50,000iu weekly for about a year and a half, in addition to the 1,000 mg daily I was already taking to get my levels in the 30's. I now take 5,000iu daily and for the last few years my numbers have been good. My last test was this past November and my level was 60. I am outside a lot and I stopped using any sunscreen last year. Then I only used it when swimming. I hate the way it feels on my skin, it's like it cannot breath anymore. If it's really sunny and I have to be out long I wear a straw hat. But I try to get my outside things done about as soon as daylight or in the evening late enough for the temps to already be cooling (but not dark yet). My skin tone is fair-medium and I tan easily and darkly but seldom burn.

  • Desiree
    Desiree Posts: 255 ✭✭✭

    Thanks everyone for the input. I will be doing some more homework on the correlations and complexities of Vitamin D and all that goes with it.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,375 admin

    I read an article from Dr. Axe that said that BPA in our bodies reduces our vit. D levels. I am sure all of you know that it is in more than just can liners & plastic water bottles.

  • annbeck62
    annbeck62 Posts: 995 ✭✭✭✭

    To absorb vitamin D you need bare skin free of sunscreen so if you are wearing sunscreen or have long sleeves and pants on you may not be getting enough even though you're outside a lot.

  • Desiree
    Desiree Posts: 255 ✭✭✭

    I don't use sunscreen and never have. I do have slightly darker skin due my Italian genes and never really needed it. That is one of the issues though regarding vitamin D absorption. I have really fallen far in this rabbit hole and it is not a cut and dried, clear, easily explainable issue. The complexities of this deficiency is only now making news again, but it has been an issue for generations. It is also called "rickets" and while considered rare now (less than 1,000 cases in the US) it usually occurs in infants and children.

    Be careful when you start down the rabbit hole... 😉

    Our bodies are just showing the influences of the industrial era of earths cycle. Basically we are all toxic. 😔

  • Cornelius
    Cornelius Posts: 872 ✭✭✭✭

    Vitamin D is also a hormone that regulates over 20,000 gene products (humans have over 100,000). That means that 1/5 of the total things that our bodies are able to make are influence by this one molecule. Dr. O'brien ( talks about how it is important in preventing the over functioning of the immune system (it helps regulate that too). Take it with calcium for best absorption. The inflammation that you are currently having might be related to leaky gut and it might be worth while to look into it. Best of luck!

  • dipat2005
    dipat2005 Posts: 1,226 ✭✭✭✭

    I was at my Doctor's office 8 weeks ago and he told me the recommended dose for Vitamin d3 is now 2,000 mg /day. I was surprised by that so maybe we should be asking out Doctor what the recommended dose is. Is it the same across the country?

  • Acequiamadre
    Acequiamadre Posts: 269 ✭✭✭

    @tomandcara  thank you for the informative link.

    Helpful for myself and for advising my mother, who suffers from chronic pain and inflammation. She has darker skin, so I will encourage her to enjoy sitting in the sun every day to get maximum vitamin D production.

  • Desiree
    Desiree Posts: 255 ✭✭✭

    I downloaded an app called dminder just to see how much sun exposure I am getting for vitamin d production naturally. It is very interesting in that it is based on your location and those who live further north of the equator have a less "open window" of exposure. Today while cutting grass I built up 3,950 IU's of vitamin d based on my exposure time. I am curious how my winter exposure is going to go.

  • Gil Montano
    Gil Montano Posts: 39 ✭✭✭

    A very good and natural product for beat the inflammation is Apple vinegar. You can make with raw honey and cinnamon. Taste very good. And it is a shoot of energy too.

  • Thomas
    Thomas Posts: 81 ✭✭✭

    I do know that people do have concerns with oral Vitamin D use, as Vitamin D is a pro-hormone, not a vitamin.

    I have always wondered if the issue is not low levels of Vitamin D per se, but the issues surrounding the whole body manufacturing of it. Once I learned how natural "Vitamin D" is created in the body, I was quite surprised by its complexity - at least it seems complex to me!

    From sunlight on skin, to liver, to kidneys. That is a lot of key players in your body's eco system system for its production.

  • frogvalley
    frogvalley Posts: 675 ✭✭✭✭

    Sunlight through the eyes triggers vitamin D conversion. I can't find any references at the moment, but suffice it to say that just like sun block has a power effect on your vitamin D levels, so does wearing sunglasses.

    I happen to think that a bigger problem is our intake of nightshades coupled with a lack of sufficient intake of magnesium which mitigates the effects. Here is a link to a short article which basically explains the relationship. By eating nightshades, the calcitriol is causing calcium to be stuffed into our soft tissue causing inflammation. It also causes a lot of other issues. There are other great articles explaining it, but I haven't done that research in over 5 years and the hour is late so I'm leaving it to inquiring minds.

    The nightshade issue is not an allergy problem. It happens in all of us. The difference in those that have aches and pains from it and those that don't is our basic structure, diet, lifestyle.

    You need fat to process and store vitamin D. Cholesterol has been given a bad rap like sodium was years ago before doctors realized that many people reduced sodium to heart attack levels. We need to balance our diets. Cholesterol controls our hormones and so many processes that we cause issues when we stop the cholesterol train. I urge you to do your research.

  • Desiree
    Desiree Posts: 255 ✭✭✭

    The more I learn, the more I don't know. There are so many conflicting studies regarding vitamin D that it makes it very difficult to take any productive action.

  • brownjoelle
    brownjoelle Posts: 23 ✭✭✭

    I struggle too and have lived i TX, CA, and FL for the past 8 years. I have spent lots of time in the sun, but have worn sunblock a lot. This decreases the vitamin D absorption. You want some time in the sun without sunblock.

    My main issue started with stress. It led to gut issues, chronic inflammation, and an autoimmune disease.

    I get supplements, but that's like putting on a bandaid. You need to get to the root cause. For me, my adrenal glands were over active and therefore my thyroid glands became suppressed. My dr gave me meds for my thyroid, but that too is just a bandaid because it is not the root cause.

    I now see someone who orders labwork to get to the root cause and treats that (extensive testing, not just a few. He reviews the results with me and actually explains what is going on and how we can improve it naturally. I have drastically improved but still have a way to go. A holistic approach works and is my preferred method. Improvement doesn't happen overnight, but it does happen. I know you're searching and it can be frustrating. I hope this is helpful.