Published December 12, 2016 Did you know that low or low-normal Vitamin D levels are found in almost every chronic disease? It’s widely known that Vitamin D is anti-inflammatory, but it also has powerful antimicrobial properties thanks to 2 compounds: cathelicidin and beta-defensin. That means it’s essential for fighting parasites and chronic low-grade viruses, many of which can directly lead to the development of cancer (oncoviruses)! Symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency can include depression, bone/muscle aches, restless sleep, poor concentration, and more. Why Your Body Needs Vitamin D Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that promotes the use of calcium and helps bones grow. Vitamin D also encourages immune cells to mature, bolstering the immune system and keeping infectious bacteria and viruses in check. Vitamin D is very important for reducing and preventing hypertension, atherosclerotic heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. According to Dr. Michael Holick M.D., studies have shown that vitamin D deficiency increases the risk of heart attack by 50 percent. What’s worse, if you have a heart attack and you’re vitamin D deficient, your risk of dying from that heart attack creeps up to nearly 100 percent! Vitamin D also protects against the development of cancer. Many genes that control cell growth and cell death are partially regulated by vitamin D. Simply Taking Vitamin D Won’t Cut it for 40% of Us Since Vitamin D is a pretty popular topic in the health community, you’ve probably heard this all before – but I recently learned something that BLEW my mind! Over 40% of the population will seem to not respond to Vitamin D, even at high doses, because their receptors are metaphorically “deaf” and have trouble using it. This is due to genetic mutations (SNPs) on our VDR gene. Everyone has their own unique mutations on their individual genome, which is just one reason why I believe there is no single “perfect” diet or lifestyle for all humans. My eyes lit up when I read this, because Nick & I recently had our genes tested with 23andme.com. He has this exact Vitamin D mutation (rs1544410); all his life he has broken bones easily and dealt with bone/joint pain! Makes perfect sense. Unfortunately, simply supplementing with Vitamin D won’t help these peoples’ cells. Without a healthy receptor site, vitamin D has nowhere to go. Something I also found incredible is that Nick constantly craves cabbage, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts; all cruciferous veggies in the brassica family. Your cravings are not by coincidence- nature compensated for these individual differences by creating compounds in food that can fill in where our bodies are lacking. Amazingly, the compound suforaphane (found in the brassica family of plants, especially sprouts) has been shown to increase expression of the VDR gene! Not only does sulforaphane multiply the number of Vitamin D receptors in your body – it also improves their “hearing” so to speak. This boosts your ability to fight infection, cancer, and inflammation, and has huge implications for autism which will be my next post (so stay tuned)!