Published on June 12, 2020
While it is true that the majority of individuals have no issues when taking vitamin D (in fact, many notice improvements in how they feel), there is a very small percentage of people who do experience unwanted side-effects. Yesterday, we discussed the condition of primary hyperparathyroidism, which is often asymptomatic however, supplementing with vitamin D has the possibility of “unmasking” the condition and its symptoms.
We will continue with our vitamin D myth busting series after discussing these rare but very real situations in which individuals with certain conditions may experience what seems to be a hypersensitivity to vitamin D supplementation, and sometimes, to the sun as well.
Sarcoidosis and Other Granulomatous Disorders
Granulomatous disorders, which include sarcoidosis, tuberculosis, lymphomas, leprosy, systemic fungal diseases resulting in granuloma (such as histoplasmosis, coccocidioidomycosis, blastomycosis, etc.), infantile subcutaneous fat necrosis, giant cell polymyositis, and berylliosis, are rare disorders that may lead to vitamin D hypersensitivity. These disorders involve granulomas, or abnormal masses of inflamed tissue or immune cells, that have the potential of changing the structure and function of certain organs. In sarcoidosis, the lungs and lymph tissues are most commonly affected, and symptoms may include sudden onset of weight loss, fever, fatigue, shortness of breath, and certain skin conditions.
Why can individuals with these diseases develop vitamin D hypersensitivity?
Individuals with these diseases can be known to have issues with calcium metabolism resulting in hypercalcemia. In some, hypercalcemia and other symptoms of vitamin D toxicity can be induced with very little intake of vitamin D or exposure to UVB, with symptoms that may even be “summer induced” or associated with seasons of higher UVB exposure. Individuals with these diseases tend to have low or normal levels of 25(OH)D, whereas vitamin D toxicity is usually associated with high 25(OH)D levels, above 200 ng/ml. This imbalance is due to the uncontrolled conversion of 25(OH) vitamin D (the form of vitamin D most often measured in the blood) to 1,25(OH)2D (the hormonal form of vitamin D) within the granulomatous tissues. The 1,25 vitamin D then becomes abnormally high and over-acts on the intestines and bone to pull calcium into the blood, which then can lead to symptoms of vitamin D toxicity and hypercalcemia, including bone softening, kidney stones and other renal problems.
It is important to note that this dysfunction of vitamin D induced hypercalcemia is not common among all granulomatous disorder patients – in fact, sun therapy has a history of providing healing benefits to those with tuberculosis, and higher 25(OH)D levels have been associated with an increased survival rate in lymphoma.
If you know or suspect that you have any of these conditions, or if you experience what feels like a hypersensitivity or negative effects due to vitamin D, please work with your health care provider to address these conditions, and work with them to safely resolve any existing vitamin D deficiency.
Is it true?
Our “Vitamin D Myths” series will continue to provide information and resources to answer the question, “Why should I care about vitamin D?” and to help dispel the myths and misconceptions surrounding it that may be preventing you and others from accepting it as an essential component to health. We will also discuss other nutrients essential to the function of vitamin D (and vice versa) within the body that should not be ignored.
Vitamin D is necessary for multiple functions within the body and should not be ignored, but has the hype about vitamin D and its role in the body’s response to COVID-19 been over-exaggerated? What concerns about vitamin D are valid, and which are not? We want to provide you with evidence based information to help you decide what vitamin D action to take, if any, for your own health.
We want to hear from you!
Is there a particular ‘myth’ you have heard about vitamin D? Or, something you have read or been told that makes you question whether vitamin D ‘deserves’ so much attention? Or whether you should be taking it and how much? Share with us by emailing jen @grassrootshealth.org what you have heard that makes you question vitamin D so that we can consider addressing it in our newsletters.
Are You Getting Enough Vitamin D to Help Yourself?
We’re in a time of great crisis that could be greatly affected by making sure you and everyone you know has a serum level of at least 40 ng/ml. Help us help you.
Do you know what your vitamin D level is? Be sure to test today to find out, and take steps to keep it within a target of 40-60 ng/ml or 100-150 nmol/L! Give your immune system the nutrients it needs to support a healthy you and protect yourself from unnecessary diseases.
GrassrootsHealth Nutrient Research Institute is preparing to do a Community RCT with the use of our myData-myAnswers nutrient health system that over 15,000 people are already using for their health. We will demonstrate how one can use the Nutrient Research Model established by Dr. Robert Heaney to establish the effect of vitamin D serum levels of at least 40 ng/ml (100 nmol/L) on risk reduction with different ethnicities in the population. Please let us know if you’re interested in helping sponsor this project.
Through GrassrootsHealth Nutrient Research Institute, you can also test your essential elements magnesium, copper, zinc and selenium, toxins such as lead, mercury and cadmium, as well as your omega-3 levels, inflammation levels and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) level. Find out your levels today! Log on to the test selection page (click the link below) to get your tests and see for yourself if your levels can be improved.
Make sure you track your results before and after, about every 6 months!
How can I track my nutrient intake and levels over time?
To help you track your supplement use and nutrient levels, GrassrootsHealth has created the Personal Health Nutrient Decision System called
For each specific supplement, you can track what days you take it, how much, and many other details. This will help you know your true supplemental intake and what patterns of use work for you to reach and maintain optimum nutrient levels. Check it out today!
How Can You Use this Information for YOUR Health?
Having and maintaining healthy vitamin D and other nutrient levels can help improve your health now and for your future. Measuring is the only way to make sure you are getting enough!
STEP 1 Order your at-home blood spot test kit to measure vitamin D and other nutrients of concern to you, such as omega-3s, magnesium, essential and toxic elements (zinc, copper, selenium, lead, cadmium, mercury); include hsCRP as a marker of inflammation or HbA1c for blood sugar health
STEP 2 Answer the online questionnaire as part of the GrassrootsHealth study
STEP 3 Using our educational materials and tools (such as our dose calculators), assess your results to determine if you are in your desired target range or if actions should be taken to get there
STEP 4 After 3-6 months of implementing your changes, re-test to see if you have achieved your target level(s)