Today we are going to discuss Vitamin D.
I don't know if you can find very many people out there in the real world that does not know that Vitamin D is an extremely important nutrient that we desperately need. They know that we see it as being added to many foods. Usually it is added to milk, Cereals and such. We see advertisements that promote the use of Foods such as Cod Liver Oil as good source for natural Vitamin D. Among certain diet preferences we see references to the use of certain types of Mushrooms as containing a good source for their dietary preferences. But the most popular source of supplementation for Vitamin D is over the counter self medicating products in a pill or liquid form. For people with remarkable deficiencies of Vitamin D that require a visit to a Health Care Professional, many times we see them prescribing a Vitamin D form of medicine to treat acute cases of Vitamin D Deficiencies among their clients. In fact in the US, the prescriptions for Vitamin D Deficiency is the 5th. most prescription written of all of the prescriptions written. In our discussion here we will look at some of the main, behind the scenes so to speak, ideas behind the Vitamin so that we can all see the whole Vitamin D thing and process in a little brighter light. I believe that you will see Vitamin D as being a huge factor in many serious health issues that many are plagued within the present time. It is impossible to list and spell out everything in this discussion. When i was going through to verify the material that I wanted to present, I thought, hey, this needs to be included, and this needs to be... then I realized by including all of that good stuff that we would end up having a paper much like you would find with a Master's Thesis. So I thought well, that wont work. So I have tried to cut it down to the bottom line on the most important parts.
While there are 5 forms of Vitamin D, we are really only concerned with the main two forms, Vitamin D2 and Vitamin D3. These are the two forms that apply directly to us as human beings. The other three are related and in the end basically end up in the same place anyway. The following is the basic process of the whole Vitamin D process. Within the skin, the epidermis, the chemical Ergosterol is found. This chemical is acted upon by UVB radiation from sunlight. it then converts it to 7-Dehydolestor, or know also as 7-DHC. it then is also converted to a Pre-Vitamin D-3 or a Pro-Vitamin D-3, (terms are used to mean the same thing). This then becomes Cholecaliferol. Then through some other complicated processes within the body, it eventually makes it to the Kidneys and then the final product is synthesized and is released in to the blood stream, this product is known as Calcitriol.
When the Vitamin D source is ingested, it is broken down in the stomach acid and sent directly to the Liver and from there through much of the same process as from the skin is sent by the same route and ends up becoming Calcitriol and passed through to the Blood and to be distributed to where ever it is needed. The innate immune system ends up using a great deal of this stuff. When the Vitamin D2 is ingested it then follows the same process as does the Vitamin D3, with a few minor exceptions but ending up in the same place in the end. The only real down side to the D2 is that it does not bind as well to some of the receptors as does D3. But after being exposed to certain factors, it can become much more effective down the line. Many times a Health Practitioner will prescribe the D2 form for this very reason. This is done mainly because it helps to target certain issues more specifically that are likely only known to them due to the various reports and experiences not available to the lay person. However, the lay person will do well by using the D3 form as it is much more likely to produce the results needed by those on the self help level. But at the end of the day, both forms are effective and very useful for overall health. When we follow the route of skin exposure, we are essentially working with a form of Photosynthesis. So in reality we also need Photosynthesis as much as a plant does for overall essential good health.
So how is these two forms of Vitamin D2 and D3 produced? The D2 is the form that people on certain diet forms will use. For the most part Vegans will use this form. As it is not produced by means that they are opposed to. As previously mentioned, many Health Practitioners will also use this form for specific purposes. For the most part the D2 is produced by using Ergosterol from Yeast or Mushrooms as a starter material. Although some people make the claim that you can get the Pro-Vitamin D2 from consuming certain types of mushrooms directly. After studying their rational, I would have to say that perhaps they are correct. I would have no problem using mushrooms for this purpose. I guess the proof would be if it actually works. Personally, I really enjoy mushrooms. I know that nutritional yeast is a great product, but I have never considered it in the light of providing for Pro-Vitamin D2. Maybe you, the reader here, could check into that aspect. I do know that it helps in the taste of many foods, at least I think so.
The Vitamin D3 is largely produced from sheep wool. Really it is! The process is to take sheep wool and in a washing process, the oil, Lanolin, which is much like a waxy product is washed off of the wool and the product is then purified and sent on to make the Vitamin D3 supplement that you end up using.
When the D3 is produced by exposing the skin to the sun, the conversion process is then activated as descried in an earlier paragraph. Additionally, the main Vitamin D3 supplement that we use, which is a very effective product overall, depending on the manufacturer of the product, as in diluting it down, etc., comes from Lanolin. Lanolin products are some of the most amazing products for skin care out there. In working in the Aromatherapy world, we see people all the time looking for the latest and greatest skin care products and at the end of the day, I still come back to the Lanolin based products as being the best. I know some people might see it as exploiting animals by using a Lanolin product, but I don't see it that way. Basically, as a sheep fancier from way back and having raised sheep through my teenage life and off and on with a few sheep through the years, I can really appreciate them. Shearing the wool from them every year is a relief for them. They are usually handled with extreme care as they are usually sheared in the early spring, shortly before they give birth to their lambs. It makes it much easier for the new lambs to connect with their mothers when they are first born. Plus it would make it confusing to the younger lambs in trying to find their mothers after a major "hair cut" (wool sheared off). As soon as the sheep gets back to the pasture, within a minute, they are going about their life in the usual peaceful manner. So at this point in my life, both forms are perfectly ethical for me, I have no problem using any of the three mentioned forms/sources of Vitamin D, as long as the form I am using is working for me.
The Food and Aromatherapy Connection; Generalized Discussion about the Aromatherapy Connection to Vitamin D.
As to using various food products directly in one source it is claimed that milk provides for a very small amount of Vitamin D without Vitamin D3 being added to it. Mackerel provides for 12.0 international units, Shiitake Mushrooms carries 2639 international units, Pine mushrooms carry 2103 international units and Yeasted bread carries 3657 international units of Vitamin D. In looking at a Vegan website out of the UK, I found that they mention that mentioned that some D2 is produced from Lichens. Lichens are a very old organism and based on theory I can see how they could actually be nutritious for certain properties needed for all animal life forms. After working through the documentation of this Vitamin D thing, and by looking at the Vegan sources, I have been presented with the idea here of how to make an essential oil blend base on the Vegan principles. I haven't been able to make it work because of the animal connection with Vitamin D3. But then again if a person wouldn't mind using Lanolin as a carrier oil, then it could in theory work. But by working from the Vegan angle, it makes perfect sense and it is simple to do. The toughest thing is to work out the ratios of each product being used. Using a borrowed phrase form an old TV show, "I love it when a plan comes together".
As a fun note, the breed of sheep that produces the largest amount of Lanolin and the best quality of Lanolin is the Merino line and some cross bred breeds with the Merino. This breed of sheep is a large animal for a sheep and will on average produce 250 to 300 ml of recoverable wool grease, (Crude Lanolin), per fleece.
When looking at Vitamin D one will find a strong connection to a long list of body functions that this Vitamin is directly involved with. For example when you take a direction off from the 7-DHC we see it as having a direct connection to Cholesterol levels. In looking at the flow chart for 7-DHC, some goes toward the Cholesterol aspect and some goes the other direction toward the conversion process to eventually becoming Calcitriol. This whole idea opens up a huge discussion that I am sure will cause some very heated arguments to take place about the various theories out there about Cholesterol. I want to avoid this discussion here because we haven't properly discussed Cholesterol and that would require a whole different discussion to do justice to it. But I do want to mention it as to how it relates o the Vitamin D thing. I couldn't really find anything connected Essential Oils directly with Vitamin D. So to consider some ideas here one would have to take a step back at least one generation and look at precursors and associated material. One idea is that part of the Vitamin D deficiency deal is that too much of the 7-DHC is becoming 7-DHC Reductase and then on to becoming Cholesterol. So one might consider using some form of suppression of the Cholesterol. Since we don't find a lot of creditable data for that with aromatherapy, we do find in aromatherapy some helpful material with using carrier oils for this purpose. Here we find Price and Price in their 3 rd. edition of Aromatherapy for Health Professionals suggesting the use of the following oils for lowering Cholesterol: Avocado Oil, Evening Primrose Oil, Jojoba Oil, Peach Kernel Oil, Rose Hip Oil, and Wheatgerm Oil, These are among the special type of carrier oils. The basic oils they suggest are the following; Almond, Sweet Oil, Grape Seed Oil, and Sunflower Oil. As for me, I have had very good responses from using Rose Hip Oil, Grape Seed, and Sunflower Oil. There is nothing wrong with the other oils, those are just my personal preferences. I feel like they go well with most of the types of aromatherapy that I work with and the essential oils that I use with formulations.
So by using these various types of Cholesterol suppressing oils and come in with say Orange oil, or you can use any number of other essential oils that have an uplifting effect, you might help to promote a better Vitamin D absorption rate. IE; it might help to balance out the 7-DHC aspect. This is an area that really should be explored with much more vigor due to the massive amount of Vitamin D deficiencies out there.
Another aspect is the Calcium and Phosphate connection and the role of the Parathyroid connection to Vitamin D. Here we see all sorts of disruptions due to the low or imbalanced levels of either Calcium or Phosphate within the body system. So a lot of work could be worked with here as well.
An interesting side note here is that the essential oil use follows a similar route and process as the whole vitamin D action does. I suppose a person could use this similarity to build a case for illustrating how essential oils are processed by the body. When a complicated/complex essential oil is used internally, such as Lavender or Geranium, then it presents a real ask for the Liver to process each of the components of the oil. Then on top of that one may not be sure what each of those components are going to be converted into. Then on the other hand, take an oil like Orange oil or Birch oil. A very simple oils, by saying simple I mean largely one component at about the upper 90% of the makeup with a few minor, by volume, other components. Much easier to know where the process of that oil is going to end up and what it is processed into. The big issue here is the volume of processing that has to be done by the Liver in a very short period of time. Then on the other hand we have the topical application or olfactory application for example, working much like the photosynthesis process of the Vitamin D. When it follows this route, we end up with the process working much, and I say much as in similar but not exactly, like the "First By Pass" process. This allows for the actual "unprocessed" if you will, essential oil to do it's work before being completely broken down by the normal Liver processing action. Just a gee whiz type of side note.
Calcitriol is the final product of the whole Vitamin D deal. Not only is Calcitriol used by the before mentioned areas of the body but the important thing to remember is that many cells use this substance for modulating the body defenses against microbial invaders by stimulating the innate immune system. In today's world this is very important due to the whole Covid thing. The use of Vitamin D in the struggle against this is very polarizing. Some goes to the extreme to make claims that it offers nothing in the line of protection or to help with recovery. Then on the other side many will claim that it does help to prevent and aid in the recovery from this virus or for that matter any other virus. I am bias in the latter. In looking at a number of legitimate studies it appears to indicate that people with Vitamin D deficiency levels are more likely to catch the virus and have a harder time of recovering from it. Of course it is common sense knowledge that when you are hit with a virus, that yes, you need to keep warm, but getting some sun light and fresh air makes all the difference in the world to aid in your recovery. Many Vitamins help in the role of being healthy and Vitamin D appears to be one of the most wide spread purpose Vitamins of them all. But then again when you actually look at the role of each nutritional element, one wonders how we can even function with out proper levels of each one. The bottom line is really this; Yes we can survive, at least for a while with various deficiencies, but we can't thrive until they are all in somewhat of a balanced condition. Vitamin D might be considered one of the more important ones because it is one of the easiest ones to not be deficient with.
I hope this helps in understanding Vitamin D and it's various forms, particularly the D2 and D3 forms. Also keep in mind that Vitamin D is primarily a heavy lifter within the 80% side of the immune system, which is the digestive tract and with all related parts. It does work with the other 20% part of the immune system, the Spinal fluid, but mostly on a support role. Lastly, Vitamin D is really a Hormone. At least that is the general consensuses of the day as of now. So when you consider the Vitamin D, if you look at it in light of it being a Hormone, everything makes much more sense.
Thank you for your time and interest.
End of Discussion. KK.