Are mutations in your genes for the vitamin D receptor impacting your vitamin D requirements?
There are three common genetic variants, known as Taq1, Bsm1, and Fok1. They’ve been associated with the risk of certain diseases but no one has quite sorted out what they are actually doing. It’s possible they raise your need for vitamin D. Watch this video for my recommendations on what to do if you have them.
I recommend testing your VDR genes with StrateGene, which you can get here:
For more information on how to get the StrateGene report, watch this video:
You may also enjoy these other two videos I made about vitamin D testing:
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Read the Transcript
Sometimes you have all the vitamin D you should have and your body just doesn’t listen. Here’s what to do when your vitamin D receptor stops working.
Hi. I’m Dr. Chris Masterjohn of chrismasterjohnphd.com and this is Chris Masterjohn Lite where the name of the game is “Details? Shmeetails. Just tell me what works!” And today we’re continuing our series breaking down some of the key parts of the StrateGene report and we’re going to talk about mutations in the vitamin D receptor. I’ll put the link in the description for how to get the StrateGene report.
It’s my preferred genetic testing for these pathways, you may see these same VDR mutations in other reports, you can take the same principles and apply them. But on the StrateGene report if you look at the third page, bonus SNPs, you can go down towards the bottom and you see three listings at the bottom for VDR, that’s the vitamin D receptor, that’s what allows vitamin D to carry out its biological functions.
You can see that there’s three mutations: Fok1, Taq1, and Bsm1, and I have two of them and I don’t have a reading for the other one. So what do you do if you have a buildup
of these VDR mutations? Well the science is not clear and the jury is still out on what it means, but it might mean that your vitamin D receptor needs more vitamin D than you would otherwise need to get the normal functions of vitamin D.
Usually what I recommend for vitamin D testing is that you maintain your 25(OH)D which is the common marker of vitamin D status between 30 and 40 nanograms per milliliter. If you live in a country where it’s reported in nanomoles per liter you want to multiply these values by 2.5.
Now it seems that many people that are not of white European ancestry may on average do perfectly fine going down even to 25 nanograms per milliliter. I think what you want to do
is measure your 25(0H)D and alongside that measure your parathyroid hormone, or PTH, and your calcitriol, which is the active hormonal form of vitamin D, and if your PTH is in the bottom half of the reference range you probably have enough vitamin D even if your 25 (OH)D is a little bit less than the values I gave.
If your calcitriol is high or it’s towards the higher end of the range you’re probably not eating enough calcium and that’s why your PTH might be high. But you might have a buildup of these vitamin D receptor mutations, you might see that your calcitriol looks normal (or high), your 25(OH)D looks normal and yet your PTH is high.
It may be the case that this just means you need more vitamin D and maybe you need your 25 (OH)D to go 60, 70 nanograms per milliliter to get the same biological effects. I’ve seen certain of my consulting clients who seem to need very high vitamin D levels in order to resolve certain problems such as insomnia. Now in these clients I always see these buildups of the VDR mutations, but I don’t necessarily see the opposite scenario; I’m not sure you can look at the VDR mutations and you can automatically say someone needs vitamin D levels that high.
But here’s the good thing. If the VDR doesn’t work as well because of the mutations then that means that the vitamin D will not be as effective at suppressing your levels of parathyroid hormone and so it’s still a good guide to look at the PTH and see if it’s in the bottom half of the range. If it is in the bottom half of the range then you probably don’t need more vitamin D regardless of the levels of these mutations.
So what do you do about the VDR mutations? Well I think this just reinforces the regular recommendation I have to test your vitamin D status by testing 25(OH)D,calcitriol and PTH all in the same blood draw. It just increases the likelihood that you will get value out of taking those measurements, but it doesn’t fundamentally change what you should do to monitor your vitamin D status. At least that’s my opinion, anyway.
Signing off this is Chris Masterjohn of chrismasterjohnphd.com and this has been Chris Masterjohn Lite, and I will see you next episode.
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