Vitamin D is a commonly overlooked chemical that can make us happier, healthier humans.
How does my body make and use Vitamin D?
Vitamin D can be found in some foods like egg yolks and fatty fish. However, it is called the sunshine vitamin for a reason: the easiest way to get your daily dose is from the sun (your body actually MAKES vitamin D when exposed to the sun's rays).
Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium and phosphorus, which boosts the immune system and creates strong bones. It also helps you fight depression, which is common in our area in the form of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), generally setting in around the fall and winter months.
Why do I need to supplement Vitamin D?
Here in the midwest, we have what is called winter.
During the fall, winter and spring:
- the days are shorter, meaning there are fewer hours to be exposed to the sun
- the weather is cooler, meaning our skin is less exposed, and often we do not go outside much at all
- the sun is farther away from us, meaning it would take much more time being exposed to the sun to get enough
You can find out your vitamin D levels with a simple finger prick test at your doctor's office, but you can also pretty much assume that if you are living in the midwest in the winter (or even in the summer, if you aren't outdoors often) that you are deficient. Go ahead and supplement.
What if I am deficient in Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is responsible for many roles in the body, but a major one that is especially important going into the winter months is immunity. Vitamin D is an immune booster that has clinically been proven to protect against the flu better than the flu vaccine.
Vitamin D also reduces the risk of many types of cancer - including skin cancer. This is why you need to ditch the sunscreen and let your skin be exposed to those healthy rays (using precautions, of course: short periods of time, not at the sun's strongest time of day, etc.). It also reduces the risk of stroke, decreases bone loss and mitigates inflammation.
How should I supplement Vitamin D?
It's always best to use a natural supplement as opposed to a synthetic one. I prefer cod liver oil (Green Pasture) or tuna oil (Standard Process) as a food supplement, and then I use a separate vitamin D supplement, also made by Standard Process.
Kids need at least 500 IU per day, and adults need 800 IU per day. Keep in mind though, this is for maintenance only if your levels are already sufficient. If you are deficient in vitamin D, you will need to increase that dosage to boost your vitamin D levels. Breastfeeding moms, you will want to take 6-10,000 IU to be certain you are passing some vitamin D through your milk to your baby.
If you have any questions about supplementing for yourself or your family, contact us.