Isn’t it strange that there is a global deficiency of Vitamin D? Even if your doctors tested it and found the levels too low, they simply suggest a supplement. Have we ever bothered to find out why? Is there something deeper, a macro factor, lurking in our food supply?
Prevalence of low vitamin D status in adults worldwide:
Institute of Medicine considers Calcidiol or 25 (OH)D level <50 nmol/l to be deficient while others consider deficiency level below 75 nmol/l (Source: NCBI “Is vitamin D deficiency a major global public health problem?” by Cristina Palacious and Lilliana Gonzalez
Vitamin D is fat soluble and in its inactive form, comes from dietary vitamin D2 (of plant origin-yeast, fungi) and D3 (of animal origin-fish, egg yolk). However, the primary source is exposure to the sun’s UVB rays which convert one form of body cholesterol into D3.
Subsequently, both D2 and D3 are first activated through P450 class of enzymes in the liver and converted into Calcidiol or 25(OH)D which is the storage form of vitamin D with a half life of two to six months. Our blood reports track the level of Calcidiol in the body. Calcidiol is further converted by the kidneys by P450 enzymes into Calcitriol or 1,25(OH)D which has a half life of four to six hours. The conversion into Calcitriol is controlled by complex hormonal regulation in the body which among other things is triggered by inflammation present in the body. Inflammation accompanies every single disease and existence of chronic diseases would imply that body’s Calcitriol stores get rapidly depleted.
Deficient vitamin D levels are associated, among other problems, with calcium and potassium deficiency, rheumatoid arthritis, inflammation, osteoporosis, increase in parathyroid hormone, type 2 diabetes, depression and cancer. There are number of factors that can influence vitamin D levels, such as exposure to sunlight which in turn depends on the latitude, clothing type, excess use of sunscreen, fat malabsorption, toxic liver, parathyroid disease, low calcium intake and a poor gut health.
My focus here is on the gut microbiome which supposedly results in suppression of the P450 enzymes which are critical for Vitamin D availability to the body. Unfortunately, glycophosphate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup, has been found to be associated with this suppression of these P450 enzymes. In fact a host of non-communicable diseases, including obesity, celiac disease, leaky gut, anemia, thyroid disorders, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and cancer (non-Hodgkin lymphoma, breast and counting) have all been associated with the global presence of this herbicide in the food chains. And yes, the honey bees are also dying due to this very reason!
While Monsanto denies any disease causation and experts still debate the implied causation/validity of some studies, global use of Roundup has been steadily going up. Global use is up about fifteen times since 1996. In fact, EPA has increased the allowed glycophosphate tolerance levels (in ppm) to go up. For example, during the period 1993 to 2015, for soy grain it went from 20 to 40, in corn grain from 0.1 to 5, for oat grain from 0.1 to 30, and for wheat also from 0.1 to 30. As a consumer your total intake would obviously be the sum total of all glycophosphate contained in food that you eat.
Source: Springeropen.com, National Agriculture Statistical Service
Incidentally, this increased use of glycophosphate has been predominantly applied to genetically engineered herbicide tolerant crops. Yet even organic and non-GMO crops are subjected to glycophosphate because of water run-off as well as overground and underground seepage, which finally goes into our oceans. In addition to being used as a weed killer, glycophosphate is also being directly sprayed on crops as a pre-harvest desiccant to help dry the grain. The extent of this practice has not yet been fully quantified.
Where does this leave us? Unfortunately there are no simple solutions to be found by just looking at one piece of the puzzle. This is NOT a scientific paper or an in-depth analysis. We are simply trying to connect the dots and it doesn’t paint a nice picture. We started with vitamin D and ended up with glycophosphate. Any disease is a systems problem. There are multiple factors in both the internal and the external environment that are responsible. As consumers of sugar, corn, soy and wheat, let us at least stay tuned because this involves our entire food ecosystem.
Sources and references:
9) Plos.org “Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Concentrations ≥40 ng/ml Are Associated with >65% Lower Cancer Risk: Pooled Analysis of Randomized Trial and Prospective Cohort Study” by Sharon L. McDonnell and others.
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