Recent research told me something I’d never figured out on my own. Caffeine might be what was causing my extreme Vitamin D deficiency.
New research found that the more caffeine you consume, the more likely you are to be Vitamin D deficient. They are quick to point out they are not saying that correlation equals causation. Just because the window is open and the room is cold does not mean the open window is causing the room to be cold. But is definitely something to consider.
For me, it’s the only thing that makes sense. For years I struggled with extremely low Vitamin D levels. Almost non-existent levels that had my doctors concerned and baffled. Of all the things we tried, cutting back on caffeine was never something we considered. As I’ve detailed in other posts, I was routinely consuming several times the safe amount of caffeine. Yeah, I was a jittery, and anxious but I assumed overstimulation was all that extra caffeine was doing.
Normal Vitamin D Levels
Before I get into my issues, it would help to understand the normal range for Vitamin D levels are between 20 and 40 ng/mL. Some tests recommend between 30 and 50 ng/mL. Mine was 3. That’s not just low, that basically saying I barely had any detectable Vitamin D in my system. My doctor said they had never seen a number that low.
The doctor immediately prescribed ultra-high supplements of 1,000 IU per day. And when that only raised my numbers from 3 to 4, they pushed the supplements up to 5,000 IU per day. That raised my numbers to 10. It is worth noting here that as I consumed these supplements I usually washed them down with a cup of coffee.
The doctors were perplexed. My numbers were just not rising as expected. In fact, they were about to go down again.
As I consumed these high D supplements being prescribed, I also started self-medicating with over-the-counter supplements that had D3 and coconut oil in an attempt to boost my results. I was also going out and sitting in the sun for 15 minutes per day to try to naturally raise my numbers. And I was eating more fish,eggs, and mushrooms which are supposed to help raise Vitamin D levels as well.
While I did all this my numbers suddenly dropped back to 8. The doctor kind of threw up his hands and gave up. I was not responding and the rest of my test results for cholesterol, blood pressure, liver, etc. were great. I was the poster child for good health. Except for my weight and those super low D levels. He was out of ideas and I was sick of swollowing pills that didn’t work.
So why care about Vitamin D?
Why Vitamin D Deficiency Is Important
While I was not showing any other issues, very low Vitamin D levels are a canary in the coal mine: a warning that something unseen and dangerous may be lurking in the darkness.
For me, my primary concern at this time was bone health. Gravity seems to impact me more than the average person and I have been breaking bones on a regular basis since I was a child. My last big fall was 19 broken bones when my dog tripped me and I hit the concrete crushing my wrist and breaking a leg. Yes, I was checked for bone density after this and I’m normal. I was told it was just “bad luck”.
But Vitamin D is essential for strong bones because it helps utilize calcium. Without Vitamin D, all that calcium fortified milk may as well be fruit juice. You need Vitamin D to absorb and metabolize the calcium. But it does a lot more.
Recent research has suggested Vitamin D plays a role in diabetes, high blood pressure, glucose intolerance and multiple sclerosis. Further research is indicating it may also play a role in obesity, depression, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, osteoporosis and even Alzheimer’s disease and certain cancers.
The research went on to further expose that Vitamin D deficiently appears to a growing world-wide trend with people living in high sunshine areas still showing an increase in the percent of the population with Vitamin D deficiency.
Being Vitamin D Deficient Finally Makes Sense
Again, I can’t say correlation equals causation, but caffeine use is growing world-wide at the same time Vitamin D deficiently is also increasing.
And antidotally I can tell you that my last blood tests since giving up my caffeine addiction also now show normal Vitamin D levelsin the mid-twenties. Coincidence? I’m not a doctor, so I can’t say. I’d never even thought about a caffeine-Vitamin D connection so that’s why I found this new research so interesting.
I do know that all the supplements I took, all the fresh air and sunshine, clean eating and prescription co-pays didn’t do a thing to improve my Vitamin D deficiency because I had given up on all those things and was not even paying attention to my Vitamin D levels when they corrected. What I was paying attention to was my caffeine intake.
While I can’t conclusively say that not being addicted to caffeine anymore solved my problem, what I can say is I’m feeling even better about getting my caffeine habit under control after reading this research. I havn’t found a downside to giving up caffeine addiction yet.