Vitamin D is not just a vitamin for, the active form is a crucial hormone for humans, responsible for regulating immunity, sex hormones, inflammatory responses and so much more. I can't stress enough how vital that you get enough — and most people are not, even if supplementing.
Deficiency has dire effects on levels and the general well-being. If you suspect a vitamin D deficiency, the easiest way to find out is with a blood test. You can ask for the test to be added to your routine tests. Luckily, it's very affordable unlike the expensive ones such as liver function tests and most often covered by insurance.
The old standard of 30 ng/mL, still adopted by most labs and uninformed doctors, is too low and at that level you are deficient. According to reputable researchers and experts, the optimal levels of vitamin D should be in the 65-90 ng/mL range. If not, supplementing may need to be in order. A good amount is 4000 IU for every 100 pounds of body weight. You need to eat some fat when you take it (unless the supplement already contains fat) since vitamin D is fat-soluble.
Most articles on Vitamin D supplementation suggest taking it in the morning as a night dosage may mess with your sleep. In my personal experience it doesn't matter when you take it. If you're fasting in the morning, take it with your first meal of the day. Of course you don't have to worry about fat because all your meals contain more than abundant fat if you adopted the 975AJ lifestyle.
Do NOT get a supplement that also contains calcium. Your diet contains more than enough calcuim from sources such as cheese. The magnesium/calcium ratio is very important and will be discussed in another article.
A good form I found here in Jordan 🇯🇴 is D3 disolved in oil. My local clients reported great results in relatively short time frames. I received comments such as: "The world became brighter as if I was living inside a cave and came out to the sun". And that was in only 2 weeks!
I'm not big on over supplementation. I'll never advise anyone to go above 50,000 IU in a week unless the deficiency is severe, that is, the blood test reads a level in the single digits. If there was no blood test (not advised) or the levels were not in the single digits I advise to start with 2X25,000 IU for the first 4 werks then dropping down to 25,000 IUs every 5-7 days. Too much of a good thing is always bad idea, even if the good thing was money. Ok let's not talk philosophical stuff and stick to the subject at hand.
Vitamin D deficiency might very well be the reason people hit weight loss plateaus. If you're weight and/or cloths size isn't dropping regardless of doing everything right I suggest asking your doctor to order a simple vitamin D test.
I'll quote from the beaatiful Elle Russ from her book The Paleo Thyroid Solution:
"Vitamin D helps regulate growth in virtually every cell of your body and prevents a variety of diseases. Unfortunately, today’s indoor lifestyles result in widespread vitamin D deficiency, which can significantly increase cancer risk by compromising the function of the p53 “spell-checker” gene, which is responsible for regulating healthy cell division. Epidemiology suggests links between vitamin D deficiency and most cancers, including breast, colorectal and most of the major ones. Vitamin D deficiency can also cause cardiovascular illness, cognitive impairment, and renal difficulties.
Vitamin D, crucial to thyroid hormone metabolism, needs to be present in adequate amounts when T3 “punches in” to work (inside the cell). Consider vitamin D the keeper of the “punch card machine,” so if vitamin D is not present, T3 cannot affect that cell, or “punch in.” Remember, when you don’t punch in to work, you don’t get paid. If T3 cannot affect the cells properly, you will be hypothyroid.
People with hypothyroidism are often deficient in vitamin D, regardless of sun exposure. Low vitamin D can contribute to low thyroid function. Low levels of vitamin D might make the thyroid more susceptible to irritation from chemicals in the environment, such as fluoride and chlorine. Researchers have discovered a link between vitamin D deficiency and Hashimoto’s disease. If vitamin D is not optimal, thyroid hormones might not work well because, as mentioned, vitamin D has to be present in adequate amounts when the T3 “punches in” to work. (The same applies for levels of cortisol and iron.) Vitamin D has the ability to reduce the risk of thyroid cancer.
Why Might Deficiency Occur?
Lack of regular sun exposure is the most common cause. However, people who get regular sun exposure can still be deficient, so it’s always important to confirm levels through testing. Hypothyroidism can cause issues with proper absorption in the body and hold onto a variety of nutrients, including vitamin D. Gut issues, such as Crohn’s disease, Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), celiac disease, and leaky gut syndrome, can also inhibit absorption. Where to Get Vitamin D Food sources include sardines, wild salmon, caviar, mackerel, herring, catfish, and eggs. Also cod liver oil.
Testing Vitamin D
It’s called the 25-hydroxy vitamin D test. A result between 70 and 90 or 100 is considered optimal (common range is 30–100). A result below 50 is considered deficient."
If you you perform a Google search on the phrase "cyclical ketogenic diet" you'll get close to 900K results and probably much more if you stumble upon this article years in the future from the date it was written as the amount of accumulated repeated info keeps piling up at an ever accelerating pace.
Of course I didn't check them all out but I guess my conclusion can be generalized. Surprisingly, EVERYONE got it wrong. The one who came the closest was the late Dan Duchaine is his book Body Opus. His biggest mistake was to consider the weekly Cyclical Ketogenic protocol a diet to be performed for fat loss and not a lifestyle to adhere to indefinitely. Duchaine's horrible recommendations (instructions) for the weekends made sure that nobody would adhere to his Body Opus for an extended amount of time.
Duchaine's weakness in general physiology and especially nutrients absorption and their metabolism, which he masked well by his rants about some cell biology details from medical research studies, lead him to the faulty conclusions. He was also influenced by his background as a "guru" bobybuilding prep coach. By no means I intend to discredit Dan. To be clear I owe him a lot and if one day I visit his grave I'll make sure to place a rose and I'll probably shed a tear or two.
Dan wanted a system that worked for bodybuilders who were weaned off anabolic steroids to use for "cutting" and not lose muscle size. He didn't realize how close he was to the magic formula that works for the average Jane and Joe with non gifted nutrient partitioning. In Dan's defence, Leptin, Gherlin, Irisin and incretins were not discovered yet or not well known when his book was published back in 1996. But still he should've known about chylomicrons, lipoproteins and the extended delay in the accessibility of long chain fatty acids to the muscles and internal organs after ingesting.
The 2nd closest, although his suggested protocol wasn't ketogenic, is Timothy Ferris with his Slow Carb diet presented in his bestseller book The 4 Hour Body. But again he suggested the protocol as a fat loss diet not as a lifestyle and luckily he didn't. No one I know would want to eat beans several times a day six days a week for the rest of their lives!
Timothy got lost in the details as did Daniel which is expected from people with the rare sophisticated intelligence that both so obviously display in their writing styles.
So what was in common between the Body Opus and the Slow Carb protocols you may ask. Well, they both kept insulin low for most of the week and then allowed for a large amount of carbs/calories over the weekend. Those protocols simulated the most how the human body was designed to perform at it's optimum. No wonder both protocols worked like a charm and people improved their body compositions in relatively short times.
We'll take from Dan the Ketogenic working days and we'll take from Tim the free overfeeding and Shazam we got an even closer simulation to the original design that optimizes human performance and vitality.
The issue of totally free overfeeds vs. restricted overfeeds that excludes fats and processed foods/drinks will be discussed in another article(s). As for now, you got the green light from me to eat whatever you want on Sundays (and Saturdays on some occasions). You must eat big for the system to work. Welcome to the 975AJ lifestyle!
Sayed Farah is the author of According to a Diabetic Jewelry Designer.. a former skinny fat tired middle-aged man who conquered type II diabetes without medication and transformed himself into a physique competitor in a year with simple lifestyle changes.