Published on June 4, 2020
We hear it sometimes, in the media and from our doctors. “You don’t need to supplement with vitamin D because it is stored in your fat cells for use,” or “Be careful supplementing with vitamin D – it is fat soluble and can easily lead to toxicity if you take too much.”
A Common Misconception
While it is true that vitamin D, as a fat soluble vitamin, has a higher affinity for fat cells in the body, it is not stored as a means of maintaining a steady serum level necessary for health, which experts agree should be in the range of 40-60 ng/ml (100-150 nmol/L). In fact, the more fat a person has on their body, the more likely they are to have vitamin D deficiency. Today, we will address this topic in hopes to clarify the relationship of vitamin D in fat versus blood.
Vitamin D in Fat vs. Blood
The chart below, published by Blum et al., shows a plot of the relationship between the concentration of vitamin D in fat versus the concentration in blood. At any given vitamin D serum level, the level of vitamin D in fat remains at about 12 times that. As vitamin D levels rise and fall in the blood, so do vitamin D levels in fat. While this does indicate that vitamin D is “pulled” from fat as vitamin D serum levels decrease, it also shows that this transfer of vitamin D from fat into blood is not occurring to maintain the vitamin D serum level, but instead is maintaining the same ratio of vitamin D in blood to fat. At the same time, as the amount of fat on the body increases (such as with obesity), the amount of vitamin D needed to maintain a healthy blood level also increases.
Maintain a Steady Vitamin D Intake to Maintain Vitamin D Levels
The conclusion we offer in response to the common misconception of “I don’t need to supplement with vitamin D because it’s stored in fat” is that in fact, you do need to maintain a steady intake of vitamin D, whether from supplements, sun, or vitamin D-rich foods, if you want to maintain a target vitamin D blood level. Without this steady supply of vitamin D, levels in both blood and in fat stores will decrease.
Vitamin D Stores in Fat Can Lead to Toxicity?
Tomorrow, we will address the issue of toxicity. It is very difficult to become toxic from vitamin D – and the issue is not due to the fact that vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin. Stay tuned to learn more!
Is it true?
Our goal with this “Vitamin D Myths” series is 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.
Know if you are getting enough vitamin D and other important nutrients
Vitamin D, along with magnesium, zinc, and omega-3s, are just a few nutrients vital to maintaining our health. To know if you are getting enough of these nutrients, make sure you test today!
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)