You’ve probably heard that Paleo and Vitamin D aren’t the best of friends. If not planned, you could seriously lack the Vitamin D on Paleo. It’s mostly due to the non-consumption of dairy and not being able to get enough sunlight
But don’t let that deter you right off the bat!
There are still plenty of ways to get in your Vitamin D on Paleo through different foods and possibly supplementation.
Read on if you’re interested in learning about some new ways to get in this essential vitamin!
What is the Paleo way of eating?
The Paleo Diet is a nutritional diet that focuses on eating foods that can be hunted or gathered. It excludes all grains, legumes, dairy products and salt as well as refined sugars (any added table sugar). The idea behind this way of eating was to mirror how our ancestors would have eaten during the Paleolithic era, before the mass industrialization of food that we know today.
Put simply, our bodies were not designed to digest all the processed foods made available in grocery stores. Processed foods have been linked to obesity and many of the chronic illnesses that so many Americans suffer from.
Paleo is often considered the best style of eating if you have autoimmune conditions. When we eat what our bodies were designed to eat, the rest just falls into place.
However, before jumping right in, it’s important to be aware of potential Vitamin and Mineral deficiencies. One of those is the deficiency of Vitamin D on Paleo.
What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that we get from food, typically dairy, and the sun. It’s estimated that 1 billion people worldwide are deficient in this essential Vitamin.
Why do we need Vitamin D?
- Helps the body absorb calcium and phosphorus for building and maintaining strong bones
- Reduces cancer cell growth
- Reduces inflammation
What happens when your Vitamin D levels are low?
Chronically low levels of Vitamin D are linked too:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Increased risk fractures in older adults
- Increased risk in development of Type II Diabetes
Because there are no dairy products allowed, many people who follow this way of eating risk being deficient of Vitamin D on Paleo.
There are two types of Vitamin D to know about!
Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) is the inactive form of Vitamin D. It is not produced by the human body. Instead, the body converts Vitamin D2 into the active form called 25-hydroxyvitamin. Calciferol is the compound created that allows Vitamin D to stay in the blood.
Sources of Vitamin D2:
- Fortified Products, such as non-dairy milk
Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is the active form of Vitamin D. The human body has the ability to produce this from sun exposure, under the skin. It is then converted into 25-hydroxyvitamin in the liver and metabolized into calciferol.
Vitamin D3 raises Vitamin D levels higher and longer in the bloodstream than Vitamin D2, according to a 2012 study.
Sources of Vitamin D3:
- Fatty fish
- Egg Yolk
- Cod Liver Oil
- Beef Liver
- Red Meats
What stops the absorption of Vitamin D?
The health of your gut can affect Vitamin D absorption in the body. When you eat foods rich in Vitamin D or take a supplement, it is absorbed in the small intestine. The level of absorption can be affected by intestinal wall integrity. Persons with Celiac disease, chronic pancreatitis, Crohn’s disease, and cystic fibrosis, are all at risk for lower Vitamin D absorption.
Fructose can also have an impact of absorption of Vitamin D in the body. High levels of fructose in the body can obstruct the transformation of inactive Vitamin D to its active form.
What can deplete the body of Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning it isn’t absorbed until dietary fat enters the bloodstream as well. Low-fat diets can quickly deplete the body of Vitamin D levels.
According to Health Central, there are several medications and drugs that can inhibit Vitamin D absorption.
- Tobacco use
- Aluminum or Magnesium antacids
- Corticosteroids and Glucocorticoids
If you are on any medication that could deplete your body of Vitamin D, discuss with your doctor ways to avoid this from happening.
Should you supplement with Vitamin D?
The recommended daily Vitamins D levels are 600 to 800 IU (international units). There are many food sources to choose from to get your daily amount!
If you can’t get in the above sources and have limited sunlight exposure, a supplement might be beneficial.
The best Vitamin D supplement would be Vitamin D3 since it allows the vitamin to stay in the bloodstream longer and it elevates it faster. According to the Institute of Medicine, the safe upper limit for daily Vitamin D is 4,000 IU.
The brand I personally prefer is Garden of Life. It’s vegetarian, non-GMO, raw, gluten free, dairy free, and contains no fillers or additives. It also contains live probiotics (great for gut health) and digestive enzymes!
Does coffee affect Vitamin D absorption?
While there is some debate on whether coffee is approved on paleo, it does have potential to affect the absorption of Vitamin D on paleo.
Caffeine can interfere with Vitamin D receptors, limiting the amount being absorbed by the body.
It will also depend on how much coffee and other caffeine you consume. One cup a day and you should be fine.
Does magnesium help Vitamin D absorption?
According to News Medical, magnesium plays an essential role in not only Vitamin D absorption, but also calcium. Magnesium is necessary to turn Vitamin D into its active form to help the body absorb calcium better.
The combination of Magnesium and Vitamin also help to prevent clogged arteries. This duo draws calcium from the blood and soft connective tissue and puts it back into the bones to help build and maintain healthy bones.