As long as you spend enough time in the sun, your body will have enough vitamin D to function optimally, right? Not exactly. It turns out that your genes play a bigger role in your vitamin D absorption than you might have thought.
Even if you get plenty of sunshine, your body may not be getting the vitamin D it needs. Genetic Research shows that less than 15% of people have the optimal gene for transporting vitamin D to your cells, where it can be used by your body. That means more than 85% of people struggle to utilize vitamin D properly and end up wasting most of what they consume.
Fortunately, there are action steps you can take to help your body use vitamin D more efficiently and make sure you’re reaping all of the health benefits that come from vitamin D. You’ll want to be especially careful to get enough vitamin D in the winter season, particularly if you live in a place with short daylight hours and little sunlight exposure.
The Importance Of Vitamin D
Did you know that vitamin D isn’t actually a vitamin? Rather, it’s a hormone that’s absolutely vital to your overall health and wellness.
Vitamin D aids your body’s anti-inflammatory response in a significant way. Basically, it helps you fight off infections and other inflammations that could otherwise disturb your health.
Additionally, vitamin D plays a key role in your skin health, bone health, hormone management, fertility, and sleep cycle management. Studies have even found that vitamin D supplementation can help you with weight loss and reduce the risk of heart disease. Imagine the health implications of not having enough vitamin D!
How Your Genes Affect Your Ability To Absorb Vitamin D
Because vitamin D is used by your body in a variety of ways, it stands to reason that the absorption and metabolization process would be rather complicated. That’s why several genes play a role in getting vitamin D from your skin and stomach to your cells.
The Converter: The CYP2R1 Gene
The first gene is called the CYP2R1 gene. It is responsible for converting inactive vitamin D into active vitamin D that can be used by your body. Inactive vitamin D is known as vitamin D2, which is the type of vitamin D that comes from sunlight and plant-based foods. D2 must be converted into active D3 before it can be used by the body.
Keep in mind that certain foods provide vitamin D that is already in the active D3 form. These include red meat, liver, oily fish, and egg yolks. When you eat these foods, your CYP2R1 gene does not need to convert the vitamin D3 that comes from them.
If you have a suboptimal version of the CYP2R1 gene, it’s extremely difficult for your body to utilize the vitamin D that comes from the sun and from plant-based foods. You may need to consider increasing your intake of the vitamin D3 foods listed above or adding special types of algae to your diet if you are vegan or vegetarian.
The Transporter: The GC Gene
Once the vitamin D has been converted to its active form, it needs to be transported to the right area of the body. This next part of the process involves the GC gene. The GC gene is kind of like a school bus that takes the activated vitamin D on a ride to the place where it will do its job.
The problem comes when you have the suboptimal version of the GC gene. When this happens, your GC school bus doesn’t have enough room to take all of the vitamin D at once. The vitamin D that gets left behind often can’t reach the right area of the body in time. This makes it get stored in fatty tissue, where it can’t be used by your body.
Taking vitamin D supplements or eating vitamin D-rich foods more frequently can enable your smaller GC gene school bus to make multiple daily trips to the areas of your body that need to use vitamin D. If you’re only taking vitamin D in the morning, for example, try to get some in the afternoon and evening as well.
The Binder: The VDR Gene
Your VDR gene is responsible for the last step of the process. It picks up the vitamin D from the school bus stop and binds it to the vitamin D receptor, where the vitamin D can begin working to your health benefit.
Having the suboptimal version of the VDR gene means it’s more difficult for the vitamin D to reach this crucial last step. Even if the vitamin D is converted and transported properly, it still requires binding in order to be effective in your body.
For vitamin D to perform its various functions inside your body, the VDR gene has to work properly. If it doesn’t, you need to get all of the vitamin D you can get. The more vitamin D your body absorbs, the more of it is able to be binded to the vitamin D receptors. Consider ways you can add more vitamin D to your diet and lifestyle.
Strategies For Getting Enough Vitamin D
If you have the suboptimal version of any of the three genes that are part of the vitamin D utilization process, your body probably isn’t getting the vitamin D it needs. The solution is not as simple as spending a few hours in the sun each day, however. The best methods for you to get enough vitamin D depend on your exact genetic profile.
Still, there are some things you can do regardless of which part of the process your body is not able to perform well. Here are some general recommendations to increase your vitamin D intake:
- Take a walk every morning
- Eat lunch outside whenever possible
- Use a vitamin D lamp during the cold winter months
- Move to a sunny climate if possible 🙂
- Create a diet that contains plenty of vitamin D-rich foods
- Try taking vitamin D supplements throughout your day
- Get your vitamin D levels measured and retest after a period of time following these strategies along with taking vitamin D supplements to see if you need to increase your dosage or if you have hit the healthy rang
Are you wondering whether you’re genetically predisposed towards wasting vitamin D?
The best way to find out is by decoding your genes through DNA testing. You’ll discover whether your vitamin D genes are suboptimal as well as 37 other custom reports surrounding sleep, diet, nutrition, hormones, fitness, cardiovascular health, immunity, and behavior.
Each custom report includes your genetic tendencies as well as practical steps you can take to optimize your health and wellness. You are a unique individual, so the best lifestyle strategies for you will be different from others. You can customize your lifestyle choices to optimize your health and lifespan.
Are you interested in learning more about DNA testing and it’s relevance to your health and wellbeing?
Listen to the Replay of the webinar I did with Kashif Kahn, the CEO of the DNA testing company whose testing and reports I have chosen to offer to my clients. (Link for webinar without landing page)
If you don’t have time to listen to the webinar then just send me an email and we can set up a time to discuss the DNA testing and how it could help you ensure a longer and healthier life.