vitamin series: D
Hey everyone! Welcome back to good ol’ Monday. I am SO recharged from a weekend of actual rest. Sleep is a powerful thing! My husband and I got some house things checked off the list and I’m actually toying with getting back into painting more rooms. It takes me about a decade to choose paint colors, so this will be a process. But enough about me–today I want to talk about one of the more popular vitamins…
Vitamin D. It’s somewhat of a celebrity lately. All the hype about spending some time in the sun has really skyrocketed its popularity! But what does vitamin D actually do for our bodies?
- Helps us absorb calcium and phosphorus. Both minerals are important for strong and healthy bones, so proper vitamin D intake is super important for the ladies–osteoporosis is not something we all want! Insufficient vitamin D in the body can raise your chances of fractures or other bone breakage. OUCH!
- Strengthens the immune system and helps the body avoid sicknesses, like the common cold.
- Could help us maintain a proper body weight by working to reduce the amount of overall body fat as well as abdominal fat–this kind of fat can indicate deadly diseases, such as heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, etc.
- Sufficient vitamin D may help the body avoid cancer.
The best ways of bolstering your vitamin D levels are by catching some rays–safely. Fifteen minutes two times per week are all it takes to soak up that vitamin D, but it must be fifteen minutes of exposed skin, i.e. NO SPF. This obviously goes against anything and everything that doctors say about UV rays, so be sure you keep it strictly to fifteen minutes. After that, slather on the sunscreen.
Because of the decrease in UV strength that occurs in the winter months, many people experience vitamin D deficiencies specifically at that time. My husband had a deficiency when we lived in NYC and he was not a happy camper! Symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency include sluggishness and just feeling “down”. Seems kind of like Seasonal Affective Disorder. If you think you have a deficiency, ask your doctor about it and he may administer a blood test.
Can’t seem to fit in the sun time? If you’re a supplement kind of guy or gal, make sure you’re getting between 1,000 and 5,000 IU per day. This wide range is more of a guesstimate from various sources because there isn’t really enough evidence to prove the proper threshold of vitamin D–many sources just suggest that you don’t exceed 10,000 IU per day. Vitamin D is fat-soluble, so it remains stored in the body. This means that it can be toxic at astronomical levels, but it is a rare occurrence. You’ve been warned.
While it doesn’t solely provide enough for the levels you need, you can get some vitamin D from eating. Foods that contain vitamin D are fortified orange juice, milk, and cereals; egg yolks; fatty fish; and…beef liver. Yum. It is strongly recommended, however, that you focus on the best way of getting vitamin D: THE SUN.
Now stop reading and go outside! Doctor’s orders…
Have any of you had a vitamin D deficiency? How did you feel?
BONUS: A little sneak peek of Gunnar’s totally tubular weekend. He’s so tired today from all the action!
photo credit: Quantum Leap Wellness