By now, you probably have heard that vitamin D offers some pretty awesome health benefits. Yet vitamin D deficiency is rampant around the globe. Modern lifestyles and decades-long admonitions from the medical community often deny us the most natural source of vitamin D: the sun.
In addition, we may be born with a genetic predisposition to poorly metabolize vitamin D! Until recently, the usual response would be, “Oh, well. I inherited a vitamin D gene defect so I can’t do anything about it.”
Well, folks, those days are over. Thanks to scientific advancements, we can identify our DNA variants and, in many instances, discover how to overcome them – for better health and quality of life.
Let’s take a brief look at genetic traits. We inherit about 23,000 genes – both “good” and “bad” – from our biological parents. The great news is we no longer need to acquiesce to being stuck with all the “bad” genes.
Vitamin D and Genetic Testing
Scientific advancements have brought us the capability to understand our DNA at a relatively affordable cost and positively influence our inherited traits so we can enjoy better quality of health and life.
A hereditary vitamin D deficiency is easy to identify from basic DNA testing and quite doable to rectify. In fact, I inherited two fairly common vitamin D-related genetic variants. So, I explored what this means to me and what significance my findings may have for you.
Why is Vitamin D Important?
Adequate vitamin D is essential to our health and quality of life. Do you know that every cell in our body contains a vitamin D receptor (VDR)? When a VDR is activated by a sufficient intake of vitamin D, a number of good things happen. Vitamin D’s mechanisms of action include: anti-microbial, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory. In other words, scientific research suggests that vitamin D deficiency is connected to a wide array of serious medical conditions such as cancer, diabetes, mental health disorders as well as multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases.
Due to our modern lifestyles and conventional medical practices, we tend to get little vitamin D from its natural source, the ultraviolet B (UVB) rays of the sun. From living, commuting, and working indoors to fretfully slapping sunscreen all over our skin, we appear intent on denying ourselves this essential nutrient. As most diets are severely lacking in vitamin D, the most practical way of getting adequate vitamin D is by taking an inexpensive daily, oral D3 supplement.
Common Vitamin D Genetic Variants
Two common vitamin D-related gene variants are VDR taq and VDR bsm. More than one-fourth of the world’s people have inherited at least one of these common two gene variants (called SNPs or single nucleotide polymorphisms), that are related to vitamin D metabolism.
One SNP named VDR taq (1) affects about 27 percent of the global population, according to the Livewello.com genetic reporting website. Approximately 26 percent of the world’s population has inherited another similar mutation called VDR bsm. (2)
The VDR taq and VDR bsm polymorphisms may adversely influence DNA expression during the the methylation cycle (3). These VDR genetic variants also may affect depression because they mediate the production of a neurotransmitter called dopamine.
When I recently received the results of my genetic tests, I discovered that I inherited the VDR taq (+/-) from one parent, and VDR bsm (+/-) (4) SNPs from one parent. Anyone who has inherited these homozygous (+/+) VDR gene polymorphisms from BOTH biological parents may experience not only a vitamin D deficiency but medical conditions associated with low vitamin D.
As someone who is impassioned with the health benefits of vitamin D, my vitamin D level has been optimal for years, despite my inherited VDR SNPs. What this means is anyone who has a VDR gene mutation can overcome this defect by raising one’s levels to at least 100 ng/mL (250 nmol/L). In fact, by following my three-nutrient Protocol, you most likely will overcome any vitamin D-related genetic disposition within weeks or months.
Genetic Testing May Be Easier Than You Think
As of 2016, genetic testing is readily accessible and relatively affordable. In fact, you may already have access to some of your key genetic mutations including vitamin D, and it won’t cost you a penny to find out!
If you are one of the two million members of Ancestry.com, you may have already taken its saliva test to ascertain your ethnic heritage. If so, you can run the raw Ancestry.com data through an online database called GeneticGenie.org that is free of charge (donations are gratefully accepted). If you have not done Ancestry.com’s DNA test, you can order one for US$99.
Another popular saliva genetic test is called 23andme. You can order this more expensive test (US$199) to obtain information on many more SNPs. The choice is yours to make. Nonetheless, both companies provide raw data on VDR taq and VDR bsm.
Both Ancestry.com and 23andme.com provide saliva tests that can be done in the privacy of your home. If you are interested in a genetic test, I encourage you to check out the websites.
What is Your Vitamin D Level?
If you think your vitamin D level is sufficient without the need for a simple blood test, please think again. It is rare to see individuals with an optimal vitamin D level of 100 ng/mL (250 nmol/L).
The vitamin D test of your blood serum is called 25 (OH) vitamin D. You can get this test at your heathcare practitioner’s office or by ordering an at-home test kit. Most insurance plans cover all, or most, of the cost of a vitamin D test.
Once you know your vitamin D level, you may want to raise your level to optimal, assuming it is less than 100 ng/ml (250 nmol/L). The three-nutrient Vitamin D Wellness Protocol may help you raise and maintain your vitamin D level to enjoy improved health.
The Bottom Line
The time to acquiesce to genetic predispositions at the risk of your health and well-being is over. We now have a capability to understand our bodies’ vitamin D genetic composition, as well as the knowledge of how to overcome VDR gene mutations to enjoy Vitamin D Wellness.
In addition to vitamin D, DNA saliva tests provide myriad information about your genetic traits (including methylation and detoxification) and how you can influence them for better quality of life.
(1): taq = Thermus aquaticus; rs731236, risk allele: T>C.
(2): bsm = rs1544410, risk allele: G>A.
(3): Methylation is a vital biochemical process that facilitates both physical and mental health.
(4): Nomenclature for a heterozygous SNP is +/- (inherited from one biological parent); homozygous SNP is +/+ (inherited from both biological parents). If the test states -/-, you have not inherited a particular gene variant.
Author’s Note: Find out more about vitamin D by joining the “Vitamin D Wellness” group on Facebook. Read the award-winning Defend Your Life to discover how you can “Defend Your Life” against a vast array of medical conditions.
Medical Disclaimer: All material on this website is provided for your information only and may not be construed as, nor should it be a substitute for, professional medical advice. The author of this article is not a medical practitioner. Please see Terms and Conditions.
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