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, reviewed by
Kimberly Langdon M.D.
Leaky gut is a precursor to autoimmune disease like Hashimoto’s, which is often at the root of hypothyroidism. Vitamin D plays a significant role in helping heal the gut, nourishing the stem cells that seal and heal gaps in the gastrointestinal tract. Vitamin D helps to re-train T and B cell soldiers and can regulate inflammation and antibodies attacking the thyroid.
Vitamin D3 supplementation may help to reduce thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) levels. One randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study demonstrated that vitamin D supplementation among hypothyroid patients for 12 weeks improved serum TSH levels and calcium concentrations.
Consuming too much vitamin D can cause toxicity. Vitamin D increases calcium absorption in the gut, so too much vitamin D can result in hypercalcemia (too much calcium in the blood). Hypercalcemia can cause nausea, vomiting, muscle weakness, neuropsychiatric disturbances, pain, loss of appetite, dehydration, excessive thirst, excessive urination, and kidney stones. Excessive sun exposure likely cannot result in vitamin D toxicity. The Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL)—defined as the highest daily intake level that is likely to pose no adverse health effects—for adults is 100 mcg per day.
The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of vitamin D—or, the average daily level of intake sufficient to meet the nutrient requirements of nearly all healthy individuals—is 15 mcg for adult men and women ages 19 to 70, including women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. People over 70 are recommended 20 mcg per day.
Over time, bone density can decline, causing osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is mostly related to inadequate calcium intake, but vitamin D deficiency can contribute to osteoporosis by reducing calcium absorption. . Bone health also requires support from muscles, and vitamin D supports the normal growth and development of muscle fibers.
Very few foods actually contain vitamin D, naturally. Fatty fish like trout, salmon, tuna, and mackerel and fish liver oils are some of the best sources. What an animal eats affects the amount of vitamin D in its tissues. Beef liver, cheese, and egg yolks also have small amounts of vitamin D3.