Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, is most known for maintaining blood calcium levels and maintaining bone structure. But it's also involved with many other systems including immune, inflammatory, neurological, circulatory, and genetic expression.
There are vitamin D receptors on most cells in the human body. Vitamin D is unique in that the human body can produce vitamin D when exposed to the sun. Though, as the body ages, the ability to produce vitamin D declines.
In 2010, The Institute of Medicine specified blood levels of vitamin D of 20 ng/ml is adequate for bone health. And they use this to base the DRIs (daily recommended intakes).
In 2011, the Endocrine Society published their recommendations for preventing osteoporosis. They stated that 30 ng/ml is ideal for maximizing the effect of vitamin D on calcium, bone, and muscle metabolism. They also stated that, to achieve this level, at least 1500-2000 IU per day of vitamin D3 might be required by adults. This 30 ng/ml is often used in research as a target for vitamin D levels.
We are now seeing studies coming out that look at the other functions of vitamin D.
Vitamin D Enhances Healthy Gut Bacteria
Here, researchers were investigating the effects of vitamin D supplementation on the gut microbiome. Their theory was that blood vitamin D affects how the immune system interacts with bacteria in the gut. And that, in turn, affects overall health.
Twenty adults with low blood vitamin D levels (less than 30 ng/ml) took 600, 4,000, or 10,000 IU/day of vitamin D3 for 8 weeks. They tracked changes in 23 types of bacteria.
After 8 weeks of supplementation, the group taking 600 IU did not experience a significant change in blood levels. But the groups taking greater amounts of vitamin D3 experienced increases in vitamin D blood levels.
Baseline vitamin D levels were associated with more Akkermansia bacteria (associated with decreased risk of cancer, obesity, and atherosclerosis) and decreased Porphyromonas bacteria (associated with gingivitis). There was a dose-dependent increase in the relative amount of Bacteroides and Parabacteroides, which are associated with decreased bowel inflammation.
The researchers acknowledged the study was small and short. And they anticipate that a larger, longer study could show more long-term effects.
Vitamin D Safely Enhances Genetic Expression
These researchers noticed varying responses to vitamin D supplementation. And they suspected individual genetics may play a role in how a person responds to the supplementation and in which genes are affected. They designed this study to identify the impact of vitamin D supplementation on genomic and metabolomic profiles.
Thirty people, deemed healthy and with “normal” vitamin D levels greater than 30 ng/ml, were selected to participate in the study. They took 600, 4,000, or 10,000 IU vitamin D3 per day for 24 weeks.
Blood vitamin D levels increased with increased supplementation. The group receiving only 600 IU/day didn’t see a significant increase in vitamin D levels until after 16 weeks of supplementation. No group had a significant difference in calcium levels, suggesting no toxicity. After supplementing with 4,000 or 10,000 IU for 16 weeks, parathyroid hormone decreased then stabilized at the new, lower level with no difference between these two groups.
The groups receiving greater amounts of vitamin D experienced alterations in more genes. Those receiving 10,000 IU/day showed 1289 genes were up-regulated or down-regulated. About 30% of the participants experienced a lower response to the vitamin D supplementation, affecting just 2-5% of the genome while more responsive participants experienced changes in 5% of the genome.
One area of particular influence was histone modification, which influences gene regulation. In the 10,000 IU group, 104 genes associated with cancer-related pathways and 65 genes involved in the immune system were affected.
Vitamin D metabolite changes were related to how responsive the person was to vitamin D, and not the level of supplementation.
The researchers concluded that supplementation of 10,000 IU/day for 6 months was safe and had a significant effect on the expression of 1200 genes. They also concluded that gene expression and the profile of vitamin D metabolites may predict an individual’s response to vitamin D3 supplementation.
Vitamin D Enhances Metabolic Profile
These researchers recognized that vitamin D deficiency is associated with oxidative stress. So they found people at high risk of oxidative stress and deficient in vitamin D. 92 people over age 45 with various metabolic disorders and deficient in vitamin D (less than 30 ng/ml) were given a placebo or 2,000 IU vitamin D3 for 3 months.
After the three months of supplementation, the supplemented group had achieved blood vitamin D levels above the 30 ng/ml target. The supplement group also saw a decrease in oxidative DNA damage in lymphocytes. Those who received vitamin D saw a significant increase in HDL and a decrease in insulin resistance and in the triglyceride/HDL cholesterol ratio.
The researchers concluded that vitamin D reduces oxidative stress and improves the metabolic profile.
Vitamin D Studies Expanding
Are you surprised by all the studies using vitamin deficient subjects? About 34-37% of the adult population in the US has vitamin D blood levels <30 ng/ml. The amount needed to achieve and maintain targeted vitamin D levels may vary by person.
The prevention of osteoporosis isn’t the only target of vitamin D research anymore. As the new studies above show, researchers are studying it for improving gut microbiota health, improving gene expression, and reducing oxidative stress.
Thrivous will soon release formula 2 of Tenacity Arthroprotector. Each serving will provide 50 mcg (2000 IU) of vitamin D3. As demonstrated in clinical studies, regular supplementation at this dose may enhance gut bacteria, genetic expression, and general metabolism.
Tenacity also provides clinical doses of ApresFlex boswellia serrata, s adenosyl methionine, turmeric curcumin with black pepper, and vitamin K complex. These nutrients complement vitamin D to enhance joint and bone function for better aging, as well as to provide many other health benefits.
Like all Thrivous supplements, Tenacity passes through rigorous quality control. Each nutrient and their combination is tested multiple times for identity, potency, and safety from microbes and metals. And all quality control documentation is completely open source. This is an exceptional practice in the industry, but one that Thrivous deems essential to customer education and trust.
Tenacity formula 2 will be available to purchase online soon. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to be notified when you can purchase it through the Thrivous website.