Get your D on!

One of the many things you get to learn about when you have a thyroid disorder is that along with the thyroid being out of whack, is vital nutrients and hormones also are used up more frequently than other people. One of these very important ones, that you have probably heard about by now is Vitamin D. To make matters worse, even though a lot of people with thyroid problems are deficient or low in vitamin D, it is not so simple as just taking a simple supplement.

To start with Wikipedia defines  Vitamin D as such: “refers to a group of fat-soluble secosteroids responsible for enhancing intestinal absorption of calcium, iron, magnesium,phosphate and zinc. In humans, the most important compounds in this group are vitamin D3 (also known as cholecalciferol) and vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol).” What that is telling us, is that Vitamin D isn’t really a vitamin but an important hormone our body can make with sunlight and cholesterol and it is needed to absorb other important nutrients we need to live.

So in an era where Vitamin D is added to our foods and milk and a lot of us get plenty of sun in the summer, why would we be deficient? Here are a few reasons…

  1. Inflammation of any type reduces the ability to absorb Vitamin D
  2. A “leaky gut” can lead to  less absorption
  3. Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin, meaning it needs fat, if you are on a low fat diet, a non-dairy drinker or a vegan, you may not be getting enough fat in your diet.
  4. Many OTC drugs and some prescription drugs can reduce the amount of D you can absorb
  5. High Cortisol Levels can reduce the amount in  your system of Vitamin D
  6. Obesity can also reduce this as the fat you need to process it is trapped in the cells
  7. Aging can reduce conversion of Vitamin D into a form you can use
  8. Many people with autoimmune disease have an issue with their Vitamin D receptor that helps process Vitamin D, in this case, you could have normal Vitamin D levels in your blood but still not have enough Vitamin D that is usable for  your body

Some of the signs you might be deficient include: aches in  your bones, abnormal issues with your teeth (lots of cavities, breakages), hair and skin issues, sleep issues and even excessive sweating on your head can be symptoms. If you have thyroid disease and/or autoimmune issues, you can be at risk for becoming deficient. To find out if you are, your doctor can tell with a simple blood test where your levels are. Get this done before you start adding Vitamin D to your daily vitamin regime. While it’s not usual to be able to take too much Vitamin D, problems can occur if you go over what your body needs. Frequent urination, feeling excessively tired, feeling confused, diarrhea and some abdominal pain are symptoms that you have gone the other direction and gotten too much.

I found out myself I was vitamin D deficient about 6 years ago. I went from having a small cavity every other year, to all of the sudden most of my teeth were falling apart on me. I had several thousand dollars of damage to my teeth, despite doing everything my dentist told me to do. Multiple root canals, cavities, gum issues and eventually teeth that needed to be pulled over a short period of time. I was also having issues with being really fatigued and my hair and skin was coarser and dryer than it had ever been. I also had pain in my arms and legs which I had not experienced before. I just started to see a new endocrinologist and she right off tested my Vitamin D levels. She said anything under 20 was low and I tested right around 12 I believe. Yikes!

I started off taking 50,000 IUs prescription vitamin once a week for several months. After a few months my levels went up to 15. Better, but not good. Eventually it went up over 20. These days I get my Vitamin D tested yearly and we go from there. In the warmer half of the year I take 50,000 IUs once a month and then I supplement with 1,000 IUs of D over the counter daily. In the colder half of the year I up my OTC supplement to 2,000 IUs of D daily. My dental health has recovered admirably. In the four years since I got my levels into the normal range, I have had two very small cavities, and no issues with my gums or elsewhere. My hair and skin are in much better shape. I have a little more energy.

For those of you with thyroid issues, make sure first and foremost that you are getting your thyroid levels checked regularly, and consider seeing if your doctor will add Vitamin D testing to the list to help keep you healthy! My endocrinologist actually has prescribed me going out for 10 minutes a day without sunscreen in the afternoon to produce more Vitamin D naturally, then to cover up and put on sunscreen for the rest of the time I am outside to protect against skin damage. Yet another thing that a lot of doctors don’t seem to know about in conjunction with thyroid health, so a good thing to put on your list to ask about! Have a Sunny Day!

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