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Could eating healthy make you vitamin D deficient?

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Three-quarters of U.S. teens and adults are deficient in vitamin D, the so-called "sunshine vitamin" whose deficits are increasingly blamed for everything from cancer and heart disease to diabetes, according to research.

What's super interesting about this is that Vitamin D levels are highly influenced by our diet...specifically potassium and sodium!  

Your blood contains 3 percent sodium, a percentage similar to that found in the ocean and in animals. Your kidneys maintain a 50/50 ratio of sodium and potassium at all times. Excess sodium in the diet is eliminated through the kidneys, giving a warming effect to your body and making you more active, while an excess of potassium has a cooling effect, which slows you down.

All plants contain potassium; generally, the more sun they’re exposed to, the more potassium they contain.  Eat a banana, which has lots of potassium, and your kidneys will think that you’re in the tropics, and that your skin must be roasting in the sun – making vitamin D – so they stop activating vitamin D. 

A vegetarian animal on a high-potassium diet needs access to salt, while a carnivorous animal gets its salt from the 3 percent sodium found in the vegetarian animal that it eats. Historically,  in the winter, we would be on a high-sodium animal-protein diet, which would tell the kidneys that the weather is not sunny, so you kidneys would activate the vitamin D much more vigorously.

Most people are no longer eating in accordance with the seasons, which means that their body is not in this natural rhythm.  Combine that with too much time indoors, at a desk, under florescent lighting and your setting yourself up for major deficiency.  

This means that if you are eating a lot of veggies and not spending enough time outdoors, you actually could be doing your body harm!  

I am obviously not advocating that you stop eating your veggies but you do need to be getting healthy amounts of sunlight every day!  Also, eating with the seasons and naturally eating a diet higher in sodium/animal protein in the winter can help support your vitamin D levels.  

To your health,
xo
Dr. Nancy

P.S.  Are you interested in learning more about eating with the seasons?  If so, let's chat!  I am super passionate about this and feel it is the missing piece of the puzzle for many healthy individuals.