Vitamin D deficiency is very common these days and since scientist value this Vitamin a lot; it caught my attention and been a study for me since a few years. There could be multiple factors or reasons for deficiency, however, I am always looking for those that seemed most applicable in my surroundings.

Why is it important?

Here is why:

a) regulates autophagy

b) regulates anti-inflammatory pathways

c) regulates transcription of diff chemicals that keep us healthy

d) regulates sleep

They are relative to each other. Example – autophagy (repairing) happens best in sleep. And autophagy checks on anti-inflammatory markers & health in general. Therefore, all the above are relative and important.

I don’t agree with ‘sleep’ aspect of it, because I had Vit D deficiency as latest as 1.5 years back and I have always been sleeping very well (9 hours). In pink of my health I would argue! Not just me….my father (80 years) is been Vitamin D deficient and yet he has slept well most of his life.

However, when my today’s blood report showed excellent levels of Vit D (45ng/mL) as compare to 28 earlier; I dived deeper into investigating the reasons – what brings it about? I don’t eat any of the foods as shown in above picture, and sun is not very conducive to health when you live in Delhi.

Anti-ageing – its been my subject of interest since a few years. I am fascinated by it. And since I have been feeling a lot younger in every aspect of my life in current times, so I was inquisite to learn if anything changed in my report that made me feel the way I do. And if I improved anywhere from my last report? The reason to check my blood comprehensively!

The reports look exceptional/flawless – every single marker is as good as one can imagine including Vitamin D.

Ques: So I asked myself if Vitamin D deficiency could cause ageing? And whereas I am confident that I am biologically a lot younger than my calendar age; I went into looking for reasons that keeps me young or making me younger while I age in calendar year. I am targeting to get my biological age check may be in a year’s time but feeling it gives me more satisfaction as a student.

Even though ageing depends on hell lot of factors however could Vit D be a major factor? Here is how it makes a case for it to be a factor in my study:

– Food/grains – have deuterium. Depending on how much we eat; it can increase deuterium

(Deuterium is (also known as heavy hydrogen – extra neuron) one of two stable isotopes of hydrogen. Hydrogen is found or makes into every part of our body. However, this so called ‘heavy hydrogen’ is not considered as healthy as normal hydrogen. Its known to cause malfunction in mitochondria that may lead to several chronic diseases. And it is available in water, air, and all kind of foods)

– Increased deuterium – will effect our efficiency to make Vit D from sun.

– Less Vit D – promotes activity of telomerase, the repair enzyme that steadily adds to telomere length by addition of guanine-rich repetitive sequences.

– Telomeres – are the specific DNA–protein structures found at both ends of each chromosome, protect genome from nucleolytic degradation, unnecessary recombination, repair, and interchromosomal fusion

Telomeres link to ageing – Progressive shortening of telomeres have been associated with increased incidence of diseases and poor survival. Therefore, they play a central role in cell fate and aging by adjusting the cellular response to stress and growth stimulation on the basis of previous cell divisions and DNA damage

A balanced diet (mixed) is known to be best for keeping optimal Vitamin D levels and this can also be explained via deuterium presence in all foods. However, there are foods that have less deuterium and a mixed diet therefore can balance it out just like any other factor.

How to maintain Vit D levels?

Let me further explain my logics of my summation:

  • Barring exceptions, we find people on the heavier side, who eat too much of rice, wheat, or stick to grains in most of their diets.
  • Weight gain is directly related to poor mitochondrial health or overfeeding. I would discount overfeeding because most people post 40 don’t overeat. So that leaves us with one reason to gain weight – mitochondrial health.
  • Now mitochondrial health is directly related to exercising. Yes. But not solely. It is also directly related to food we eat.

Ques 1: Could Vitamin D association with deuterium and its effect on mitochondrial health be causal and possibly the reason for bad health?

Ques 2: Could eating too much grains (wheat or rice or any other form) in the absence of exercising be the reason for bad mitochondrial health? Because it is not clearly the case of over eating in many people then what could it be?

Now my summation:

In my latest experience at ashram where I was eating too much vegetables (both meals) and rice flour (idly, dosa, rice, etc) – as result I was mostly constipated even in the presence of high fiber. I also didn’t sleep very well. As a result I was feeling more tired/fatigued whereas the workout (yoga, pranayama etc) was nothing in compare to my gym training that I do usually and never feel tired.

(Fatigue – it could be because I was factually consuming way too less energy if I am having too much fiber in my diet. Fiber is almost energy less food (minimal energy) however, it fills us up. Too much of it would mean over consuming less calories (read energy in this context)

Ques: Could it be deuterium which is in high quantity in vegetables and any grain including rice? Or it can’t have such an effect in such a short time? Not sure.

However, it seems so. Because there has to be a reason to feel constipated on a high fiber diet. What else could it be? It’s not that I am not used to of eating rice or vegetables. I eat these everyday in home diet but NOT so much and definitely not in both meals. So, logically, excess is the problem!!

If I compare my ashram diet of 2 weeks with my daily diet at home:

My protein intake is a lot higher at home – either whey or/and non vegetarian food almost 5 days a week. At the ashram, I was only getting a small amount from veggies.

My grain intake is a lot lesser – on an average I would eat 2 chapati’s a day and little rice or no grain at all in evening meal. One vegetable/day as compare to few vegetables X 2 meals.

My diet is highly mixed at home – including vegetables, dals, non vegetarian, Olive oil, desi ghee, yogurt, etc. as compare to only vegetables, coconut, and rice/flour in ashram

Ques: But then, could it have effected my levels of Vitamin D in 2 weeks?

I am not sure. It didn’t seem like it.

Ques: Could my home diet have enough dietary Vitamin D?

I doubt it. Because if I go by what is published as Vitamin D foods; my intake is only yogurt that I take in the form of lassi quite regularly which makes up to ONLY 15% of Vitamin D intake daily.

No sun exposure….I don’t like it much and neither weather is conducive to sun where I live. And anyways, Vitamin D from sun only contributes to 30% of our total Vitamin D intake. However, I do get enough of it in winters in a season when am training athletes. But 2 months of sun can’t be enough for 12 months?

Ques: What could it be then?

And: Can’t say for sure….I guess I need to keep studying it for more answers and keep a watch on latest researches on the subject. But the subject definitely needs more research. It does seem that a good balanced diet takes care of deficiency. But how? No idea…& science has no explanation yet on this! But there has to be some explanation for my improved numbers!?

While my investigations continue…I strongly believe that one of the main reasons why I could increase my Vitamin D levels is good healthy mixed diet and perhaps exercising which helps to absorb Vitamin D from sun – whatever little I get exposed to during the day. Could be through my hands that are exposed in sun while driving?

Supplementation – I took Vitamin D supplements in total for say 3/4 months in total in 2 years.

Here is an experiment if somebody wants to do for improving their Vitamin D:

Cut out on grains/rice and restrict these to one meal a day. Increase protein intake (as it would help to cut out grains) which can come from non-veg, eggs, or daal’s if you are vegetarian. Some vegetables like green peas, spinach, etc have decent amount of protein so include these foods in your meal plan. My favourite for vegetarian people would be Daal. You can put ghee in daal if you are not having any rice with it. Or you can have a combination of 30% rice + 70% daal in say dinner. Daal, in my personal experiments, make a perfect balanced meal as it has the combination of carbs + protein + fiber.

Take Vitamin D supplement for a period of 2 months with the above diet.

If your vitamin D numbers improve then it will be interesting to cut out the supplement for the following two months and just stick to the above diet and have your Vit D checked again.

Sequence to follow if you like to experiment:

a) Have your Vitamin D checked

b) If its low, which it will be in most cases, follow the above diet

c) Take vitamin supplement for 2 months or so

d) Have your Vitamin D checked again in 8 weeks

e) Cut out the supplement and continue to follow the diet

f) Have your Vitamin D checked again in 8 weeks after stopping the supplement

Behaviourial changes to notice:

  1. Sleep quality
  2. Weight
  3. Energy levels
  4. Fatigue
  5. Recovery next day

See how it goes…..and if possible come back to me. It will help me educate more people. And if it helps then send me a thank you note 🙂

Wish you the best!