An Ancestral Perspective on Vitamin D Status, Part 2: Why Low 25(OH)D Could Indicate a Deficiency of Calcium Instead of Vitamin D

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Here is the second installment in my new series over at Mother Nature Obeyed:


Here's the video summary:



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  1. Chris, I think another great video would be to explain the significance of certain things that pull calcium out of bones (i.e. PTH and excess phosphorous). I believe that the SAD diet is a diet that has a generally high P:Ca ratio, and thus not a good balance. Increasing calcium consumption in a SAD diet would probably help people in many ways, especially weight loss, as there are many studies suggesting that calcium is a pretty powerful stimulator of metabolism, and increasing it's consumption has resulted in weight loss in many cases.

  2. Hi Chris, thanks for the info, looking forward to the series.

    If bone broth is low in calcium, I'm wondering how this affects the liver based formula for infants? would that mean it might be prudent to add calcium
    (don't have an infant- but use the formulas as a basis for understanding what a balanced diet might entail, also curious about what changes may be necessary for diets that recommend bone broths as dairy replacement)

    Regarding other things that affect low 25 (OH) D levels-
    In your series, I'm hoping you can touch upon things such as
    vitamin A & K status, magnesium and gut bacteria, among other things.
    Can't wait.

  3. Hello Chris, thank you for the information! My question is about bone broth. You said in your article that it contains relatively little calcium. Do we know how much it actually contains? I suppose it varies depending on the method and length of cooking? Would there be any possible way of relying on leaching calcium from bones to meet our daily requirement? Thanks for the help!

  4. Very interesting Chris. I guess I'm doomed though because since I had my thyroid out (at age 50), I have not been able to eat dairy products nor cruciferous vegetables. I tested as casein and lactose intolerant and cannot eat dairy or cruciferous vegetables without digestive distress. Three servings of sardines a day would be overwhelming. Suggestions?

    1. Citizensand, consider slow-cooking meat on the bone and eating the marrow and/or gnawing at the soft edges of small bones (like chicken's leg bones). You'll be surprised to find it really tasty too! Then you can keep all those broken bones and make broth out of them – the rest of the unreachable marrow with spread into the broth.

  5. Hi Chris,

    This is indeed very interesting. I am pregnant and asked to have my D levels checked. The result was 49 and it seems they want to gie me prescription strength supplement now even though they would never have checked for it. Im a wapf member and take my Daily dose of cod liver oil and drink up to a quart a raw milk a day. I am no however eating the oily fish as recommended at the moment as I am having severe food aversions. What would you do? Increase the clo or take the d-supplement?

    Thanks so much!

  6. This vitamin D status thing is indeed a very important one. Usual reasoning in terms of a "deficiency" inferred from blood lab work data is not only often wrong ( after all, not so surprising, we deal with a complex system, in technical sense) but potentially sometimes really dangerous.

    A nice example is hyperparathyroidism due a tumor in a parathyroid gland. Low 25 (OH) D is usual in this condition while calcitriol is high. This normalizes spontaneously once the tumor is removed with (appropriate) surgery. Probably a similar mechanism (as the one you describe with Ca deficiency) with to much conversion into calcitriol in kidneys seems to be at work.

    Supplementing vit D with primary hyperparathyroidism makes this condition much worse and may rapidly kill the kidneys.

    Thanks for your series.

  7. Thanks for starting this series – I have no doubt it will benefit a lot of people. Really appreciate all that you do for this community.

  8. Really interesting, as always, but I'm worried about those who just watch this video, or read the article but miss the (easy to miss) link to your excellent explanation of the rather serious issues related to consuming too many cruciferous vegetables. I've also been concerned (since my first intro to GAPS) that while bone broths are a fabulous source of calcium, they must also be a source of fluoride if from animals drinking fluoridated water. Here's a link to the cruciferous vegetable article, for those who might otherwise miss it.

    And here's a good source for calcium in bulk.

  9. Hi, Years ago I wrote an article on calcium dictating the vit D levels. Your work on this is the perfect addition to my article with more concreted evidence that discourages blindly taking mega doses of oral vitamin D. Since I am not under the scrutiny of a massive audience I was able to be much more inflated and creative on my speculations of potential oral vitamin D issues. I am very excited to see the rest of your series as it unfolds. I had enough biochem and nutritional philosophy to realize there is a problem in the vit D hype and suggested levels but your work really hits a home run on why we should question the current D info. If you want to read my article and some of the awesome insight I had go here.

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