Vitamin D3 gel capsules, raise vitamin D, stronger bones, study of vitamin D supplements

A great deal of research suggests that low levels of vitamin D are associated with serious health problems, including osteoporosis, fractures, hypertension, heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, infections, respiratory disease and a number of autoimmune disorders (Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, Dec. 2013;American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, April, 2013 & Nov., 2014)  When vitamin D levels are low, people are at greater risk of dying prematurely. Could common environmental chemicals be contributing to lower vitamin D levels in the population? A new study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (Sept. 20, 2016) suggests that exposure to BPA and phthalates (pronounced THAL-ates) may be a bigger problem than previously thought.

Why Are Vitamin D Levels So Low?

There was a time when our ancestors probably had very good levels of vitamin D. That is because they spent a great deal of time outside foraging for food. Hunters and gatherers devoted hours each day to seeking sustenance. Farmers also spent a substantial part of each day outdoors growing or harvesting food.

With the industrial revolution and factory life, people moved indoors for most of the day. That meant substantially less sun exposure.

People in northern climates like Scandinavia may not have understood why grandmothers insisted family members consume cod liver oil in the winter, but they intuitively knew it was beneficial. One reason could well have been the vitamin D found in the foul-tasting liquid.

Now fast forward to the information age. People go from their homes to their cars to their offices or schools. They stare at computer screens for most of the day. Kids have little time to play at recess . During the summer we slather on sunscreen, which blocks vitamin D formation. When children come home from school they don’t run around and play outside. Instead, they plant themselves in front of their computers and play video games, text their friends and do homework.

Environmental Chemicals Are Impossible to Avoid:

A new study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (Sept. 20, 2016) reveals that endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are also associated with lower vitamin D levels, especially in women. The investigators looked at BPA (bisphenol A), which is found in a variety of plastic products and resins, as well as phthalates, which are found in food packages, cosmetics, body care products, medical tubing and plastics.

Chances are good that your soup, beer, sports drink or soda can is lined with plastic containing BPA. That means it can migrate into the food or beverage over time. Even the receipt you get from a gas pump or restaurant could contain BPA. Your shampoo, moisturizer, sunscreen, hair spray, deodorant, or perfume may have phthalates. Flexible children’s toys are also likely to contain phthalates. They are found in shower curtains, raincoats and insect repellents.

What this means is that virtually everyone has some chemical residue of phthalates BPA or similar compounds circulating in their bodies. The higher the concentration of EDCs in the body the greater the possibility that vitamin D levels will be depressed.

What Can You Do?

The first thing you should do is monitor your vitamin D levels on a regular basis–at least two or three times a year. Have your blood tested in the spring, fall and mid-winter. That’s because vitamin D levels tend to be lowest when sun exposure is reduced.

Although we do not know if vitamin D supplements are as good as natural sunlight when it comes to reversing the health problems of vitamin deficiency, at least they are better than doing nothing.

In addition, try to minimize your exposure to BPA and phthalates. That means avoiding plastic as much as possible. Cans and plastic food containers should be kept to a minimum. If you are buying vinegar, fruit juice or other beverages try to find glass containers. Wash your hands after touching BPA-containing receipts.

To learn more about avoiding BPA and phthalates, here are some links:

Radio Show 974: Toxin ToxOut is a one-hour interview with the authors of Slow Death by Rubber Duck. They discuss how they reduced the levels of EDCs circulating in their bodies. You can listen to the streaming audio for free or download the mp3 file for $2.99.

Show 974: Toxin ToxOut

Other Interesting Links:

When Will Campbell Soup Cans Be BPA-Free?

Will BPA-Free Bottles Make You Fat?

If you would like to learn more about laboratory tests for vitamin D and how to interpret lab results and keep your levels within an optimum range you may wish to consult our Guide to Vitamin D Deficiency.

Should you wish a deodorant that does not contain phthalates, we promise that our MoM (milk of magnesia) Aluminum-Free Roll-on Deodorants are free of these chemicals. First time buyers can save 25% off the cost of our 2 oz. unscented MoM Roll-On by putting in the code MOM25 into the discount box on checkout.

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  1. Peggy
    San Diego, CA
    Reply

    GrassrootsHealth or Vitamin D Council are both great resources for vitamin D. I would suggest take vitamin D3 (about 5,000 IU daily) and then get tested about 3 months later and see if your levels are sufficient. Most states do not require a doctor’s visit to get tested. Make sure to take your vitamin D with some fat, to help you absorb it better. Ideally the fattiest meal of your day (increases 40% absorption).

    I enjoy Dr Gregor (NutritionFacts.org) very much. He did report on the BPA levels from canned soup. Unfortunately the BPA “free” replacements are turning out to be just as bad or WORSE than the BPA. I am trying to go with glass as much as possible (or fresh/frozen of course).

    We do also see that BPA and other endocrine disruptors are associated with obesity, and obesity is associated with low levels of vitamin D (stored in our fat cells, so not available to our bodies as easily). One study showed overweight post menopausal women just taking 5,000 IU vitaminD daily in a placebo controlled study lost 5 lb in 3 months…

    • Terry Graedon
      Reply

      I hadn’t seen the study you cite, so I tried to look it up. I found some that don’t suggest vitamin D supplementation is always beneficial. In this one, the women taking vitamin D lost leg strength: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27060050
      In this one, vitamin D did not improve weight loss: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24622804
      The doses were lower (2,000 IU per day in both studies), but that might not tell the whole story. I think the physiologists still have a fair amount to learn about vitamin D and who needs how much under what circumstances.

  2. Cindy B.
    Reply

    I was reading an article about BPA the other day (I think it was Dr. Greger’s site) and what he wrote about BPA was shocking. The writer said that consuming one can of soup raises (temporarily) a person’s BPA blood level by about 1000%! Yes, that’s 1000 — and that the condensed soups are much worse than the ready-to-eat canned soups. I called Progresso and asked them when the heck they were gonna stop using BPA because I wasn’t going to buy any more of their soup till they did. (I already have stopped buying Campbell’s). They said they’re “working on it.”

    Also, the BPA in cash-register receipts is supposed to be off the charts as well. I now handle cash register receipts with kid gloves and toss them out asap. The cashiers are now starting to ask, “Do you want your cash register receipt?” I guess a lot of other people don’t want to touch them either.
    At least there is NO BPA in organic canned goods. I double-checked that.

  3. Diane Mansfield, APNP
    Wisconsin
    Reply

    The recommendation to monitor Vitamin D levels “at least 2 to 3 times a year” is, at least, excessive. Vitamin D, 25-hydroxy blood tests cost between $88.23 (Quest) and $222.80 (Lab Corp). The test is NOT covered by Medicare for screening.

    This frequency of screening is greater than what is recommended for HbA1c monitoring in a treated diabetic (for comparison). Your recommendation is certainly NOT “information you need to make confident choices about your health”.

  4. Noel
    Reply

    Thanks for reporting on the possible connection between Bisphenyl-A (BPA) and phthalates and low vitamin D levels. I’m not sure how these toxic chemicals lower Vitamin D levels in the body, but then I should review the study you cited! However, I think it is a problem that the only readily-available way for people to get their Vitamin D level checked is to go to a doctor’s office and get a blood test on a periodic basis.

    This seems a rather expensive and inefficient way to find out whether there is a problem or not, and it would appear to consume a lot of time and money to find out something that may or may not be a problem. I’d guess that most people would just take Vitamin D supplements and hope for the best.

    Perhaps you should do a show on this topic with a focus on helping people understand “how much is too much” when it comes to taking Vitamin D supplements, with the goal of at least warning people how to avoid getting too much Vitamin D without realizing it.

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