The Real Reason for a Vitamin D Deficiency

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 09/30/2023

Do you ever feel like walking in a fog, even on the sunniest days?

Do you ever sense something more than a feeling when everything seems foggy, even on the brightest days?

You might be lacking some vital sunshine... from inside your body! Confused?

You see, our bodies are pretty smart. They know how to make their vitamin D when sunlight hits our skin. 

But what if there's not enough light reaching us because we live far from the equator or it's cloudy all day? Or perhaps age is playing its tricks and making absorption tricky?

In this journey, we'll discover why fatty fish can become your best friend for that extra Vitamin D dose. We'll also uncover surprising connections between liver health and Vitamin D absorption.

We've got quite an adventure ahead - let's dive right in!

The Role of Sun Exposure in Vitamin D Absorption

Sunlight is a crucial player in our body's vitamin D production. Skin exposed to the sun triggers the production of vitamin D, commonly known as the "sunshine" vitamin, with only 10 minutes providing approximately 1,000 international units (IU) of this essential nutrient.

Did you know 10 minutes of sun exposure can give you around 1,000 international units (IU) of this vital nutrient?

The Impact of Geographic Location on Vitamin D Production

Living closer to the equator gives you an advantage when absorbing sufficient amounts of vitamin D from sunlight. In these areas, there are more hours and intensity of daylight throughout the year.

Body Composition and Skin Type as Factors in Vitamin D Absorption

But not all bodies absorb sunshine's benefits equally. Higher body fat levels can reduce penetration by sun rays and hinder absorption rates. Those extra pounds could be standing between us and our dose.

Darker skin tones present another hurdle for optimal absorption because melanin reduces how much sunlight is let through deeper layers where synthesis occurs.

Vitamin D, infographics. Foods rich in vitamin D. natural products on white background

Dietary Sources of Vitamin D

It's no secret that our diets play a crucial role in maintaining healthy vitamin D levels. But getting enough from food alone can be a tough challenge.

The Importance of Fatty Fish in a Vitamin-D-Rich Diet

Fatty fish are a great source of vitamin D, almost like they've been soaking up the sun's rays to give us this essential nutrient. They're like little sunbathers soaking up rays to deliver us this vital nutrient.

Research indicates it's difficult, if not impossible, to get your daily dose unless you're consuming fatty fish regularly. Imagine having salmon for breakfast every day - it sounds delightful but hardly practical.

This surprising revelation emphasizes why we need more ways to ensure adequate intake.

Age-Related Changes in Vitamin D Absorption

As we age, our skin's ability to take in vitamin D lessens, similar to an old sponge that has lost its bounce and cannot soak up water quickly.

Think of it like an old sponge that's lost its spring - just as it struggles to soak up water, aging skin finds it harder to draw in sunlight for vitamin D production.

The body naturally creates vitamin D when direct sunlight hits the skin. However, older adults may need more sun exposure than younger people to generate adequate amounts of this essential nutrient.

Aging affects your skin and influences other systems involved in vitamin D absorption. For instance, with age comes a decreased ability to convert absorbed or ingested vitamin D into its active form.

Dietary Adjustment Can Help

To counteract these changes and maintain healthy vitamin D levels, incorporating certain foods into your diet can help significantly.

Foods such as fatty fish (salmon and mackerel), fortified dairy products, or orange juice are good sources of dietary vitamin D. These might give you a fighting chance against deficiency due to aging-related absorption issues.

Mindful Sun Exposure Still Matters

Even though aging impacts how well your body absorbs sunshine for vitamin D synthesis, mindful sun exposure is still crucial. But remember, always protect yourself from harmful UV rays.

The Role of Liver Health and Bile Production in Vitamin D Absorption

The liver is essential for breaking down vitamin D, a fat-soluble nutrient, and subsequent absorption. A healthy liver is crucial as it helps produce bile - a substance needed to break down fats and let our bodies use them.

Bile production doesn't just rely on the liver, though. Our gut health also matters. A flourishing microbiome is necessary for the production of bile, helping us to gain maximum benefit from either sun exposure or our diet in terms of vitamin D.

Another player here is your gallbladder. It acts like an efficient storage system for bile, concentrating it so that when fatty foods come along (like those rich in vitamin D), enough bile can be released into your small intestine for optimal digestion and absorption.

If any part of this finely tuned system isn’t working correctly – poor liver function, imbalanced gut bacteria, or gallbladder issues – absorbing sufficient amounts of Vitamin D could become more challenging than you'd think.

Environmental and Genetic Factors Impacting Vitamin D Absorption

We all know the sun is our best friend for getting that daily vitamin D. But have you ever considered how cloudy weather or pollution might affect this process?

Clouds and other environmental factors can obstruct the body's ability to absorb essential nutrients by blocking sunlight.

Let’s add another twist: genetics. Some people are born with defects in their vitamin D receptor (VDR).

This is similar to having a locked door where you can't get in even if you have the key (vitamin D) because there's something wrong with the lock (the VDR).

How Inflammation and Past Gut Problems Can Block Vitamin D Absorption

Your gut health also plays a vital role in absorbing vitamin D. It works like a sponge soaking up water - only here, we're talking about vitamins instead of water.

However, past inflammation or gut issues may cause some holes in your "sponge," making absorption more difficult.

In essence, just as lousy traffic could delay your commute to work or genetic predispositions make someone prone to being taller or shorter than others, external environments and inherited traits impact how effectively we utilize sunshine for its nutritional benefits.

Vitamin D illustration

Nutrition Deficiency Effects on the Body

Nutritional deficiencies can profoundly impact the body, affecting various aspects of health and well-being.

When we talk about the benefits of nutrients like vitamin D3, K2, and magnesium, it becomes clear just how vital they are in preventing these deficiencies.

Vitamin D3 is essential for strong bones, a healthy immune system, and overall vitality. When deficient, it can weaken bones, increase susceptibility to infections, and even mood disorders.

Similarly, vitamin K2 is crucial in directing calcium to the right places, ensuring it goes to the bones and teeth instead of accumulating in arteries.

A lack of vitamin K2 can contribute to cardiovascular issues and impaired bone health.

On the other hand, magnesium is involved in hundreds of biochemical reactions in the body.

Its benefits include muscle and nerve function, blood glucose regulation, and bone support. When magnesium levels are insufficient, it can lead to muscle cramps, heart palpitations, and even issues with insulin sensitivity.

Understanding the benefits of these nutrients, vitamin D3, K2, and magnesium, highlights the importance of a nutritious diet to prevent the adverse effects of nutritional deficiencies and maintain optimal health.


So, we've uncovered the critical causes of Vitamin D deficiency. Let's recap.

You now know sunlight is a game changer in vitamin D production - with factors like geographic location, body composition, and skin type playing crucial roles. That's important to remember!

We also dived into how diet matters, too. Fatty fish can be your new best friend if you aim for a vitamin-D-rich menu.

Don't forget about age! It impacts our ability to absorb this essential nutrient more than you think.

Liver health? Yes, it ties right back into Vitamin D absorption as well! A healthy liver aids in breaking down this fat-soluble vitamin efficiently.

The takeaway here? Your environment matters – cloudy weather or pollution could throw off your game plan, while genetic defects or past gut issues could play spoilsport, too!

Healthy Keto Guide for Beginner

FREE Keto Diet Plan