Vitamin D is produced by the body in response to sunlight exposure and is also found in certain foods—such as oily fish, egg yolks and fish liver oil—though in very small amounts. Your body needs vitamin D to absorb calcium and keep your bones strong and healthy. Low levels of vitamin D have been associated with a negative impact on immune health, metabolic health and cognitive abilities.¹ Insufficient amounts of vitamin D are also linked to a wide range of diseases, including cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and depression.²
With this in mind, Vitamin D is one of the most common deficiencies we’ve noticed among our early members.
Of just over 1,000 early members, only 28.6 percent of them had normal Vitamin D levels at their first blood draw. In other words, over 70 percent of our members’ vitamin D levels were out of range.
There are a lot of factors that can play into deficient vitamin D levels. While it’s easy to blame the fact that we spend a lot of time indoors and that we (wisely) use sunscreen when we are out in the sun, there are also several genetic variants that can impact your vitamin D levels.
At Arivale, we look at a variant of the Vitamin D Binding Protein gene (also known as the GC gene) to better understand your potential risk for Vitamin D deficiency. The VDR gene accounts for a significant amount of the entire genetic influence on vitamin D levels.
But we don’t stop at your genes. At Arivale, we pair your genetic data with an actual blood measurement to understand how your genetic variants may be expressing themselves. Why do we look at both? Just because you have a genetic variant that could impact your Vitamin D levels does not mean you aren’t getting adequate amounts through your exposure to sunlight and your diet.
When we see an out of range value, our coaches work with you to take action to improve your vitamin D levels through diet or supplements.
Now—going back to our members, though only 28.6 percent had in range vitamin D levels at their first blood draw, by their second blood draw, 49.9 percent of members were in range. By the members’ third blood draw, 64.4 percent were in range.
What might this tell us? Though some things are out of our control—like our genetic makeup—we still can have a lot of control of our overall wellness through our lifestyle choices. The drastic shift in our members’ vitamin D levels between blood draws supports this.
How to Help Avoid Deficiencies
Whether or not you’re an Arivale Member, there are lifestyle changes that can help ensure you’re getting enough vitamin D—especially during the darker months.
• Work to incorporate foods naturally high in Vitamin D into your diet—such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, egg yolks, cod liver oil, and milk / milk alternatives fortified with Vitamin D.
• Consider a supplement. When you’re an Arivale Member, we always recommend you look at your genetic profile and biomarkers with your Arivale Coach to determine if a supplement is right for you. If you are choosing a supplement, our Coaches would recommend avoiding a vitamin D supplement in synthetic dl-form—instead, look for vitamin D3 – Cholecalciferol.
At Arivale, we believe that your genes are not your destiny. They’re only one piece of the puzzle that determines your wellbeing. Through establishing healthy behaviors based on your body’s data, you can forge your own unique, scientific path to wellness.
Stöcklin E, Eggersdorfer M. Vitamin D, an essential nutrient with versatile functions in nearly all organs. Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2013;83(2):92-100.
Holick MF. High prevalence of vitamin D inadequacy and implications for health. Mayo Clin Proc. 2006 Mar;81(3):353-73