No matter what the weather is, Vitamin D is still really important.
* Vitamin D plays a key role in the absorption of calcium for strong bones and teeth. Vitamin D is necessary for the absorption of calcium, so if you are deficient in one you will be deficient in the other.
* It can help your mood - Exposure to Vitamin D helps the body to produce endorphins – hormones that make
you feel good
* It's good for your immunity – exposure to the sun helps boost T cells
* Newer research is also showing that being deficient in Vitamin D can contribute to:
Rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, fibromyalgia and some cancers. Maybe also diabetes and MS
The amount of people who are deficient has been estimated between half and ¾ of the population.
Some of the reasons are:
* We work indoors more and we come home from work after the sun is already going down
* We wearing sunscreen to protect us from skin cancer, and that blocks the absorption of the sunlight (sunscreen with SPF 8 cuts Vitamin D absorption by 95%)
* Some medications can affect the absorption of Vitamin D, including:
steroids, some RA medications, some cholesterol lowering meds, anit-seizure medication (ex. Dilantin, phenobarbital)
* Obesity (greater amount of body fat sequesters more of the Vitamin and affects how much of it is released into the circulation)
* People who have had gastric bypass surgery – in the surgery part of the upper small intestine is bypassed and that is where Vitamin D is absorbed.
Extreme cases of Vitamin D deficiency can cause Ricketts in children or osteoporosesis in adults
But there can be other symptoms as well:
Fatigue – a constant feeling of tiredness
Muscle Pain – Vitamin D helps to reduce inflammation, so a deficiency can lead to muscle pain. Many of the proteins in our body are regulated by Vitamin D. So, muscles, which are made of predominately protein are not regulated correctly without it.
Bone Pain – pain in bones/joints. Vitamin D is necessary calcium to be absorbed. Without that, our bones can't grow or mineralize – so your bones are weaker and more likely to break.
Some other areas that are being researched:
Depression : Light box therapy is the standard of care for Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Diseases that are thought to be caused by chronic inflammation:
Autoimmune diseases (RA, fibromyalgia, etc), Diabetes, Heart Disease
Be outside –The recommendation used to be that 10mins per day was enough. Since there has been more research on the topic, that recommendation no longer covers everything. The amount of UVB rays that a person absorbs can be affected by the person's skin tone, the weather, the elevation or the time of year.
Ways to increase your Vitamin D:
1) get outside every day!!
2) Supplements (I feel obligated to include the "talk to your doctor before starting any medications DISCLAIMER)
a. Milk (obviously) Coconut milk is also a great source for the lactose
b. Mushrooms – great source for vegetarians/vegans
c. Salmon – great source 6oz filet has 900 IU of vitamin D
(in addition to it's high its level Omega 3 fatty acids) . Tuna is 460 IU, halibut 367 IU
d. Eggs – 44 IU per large egg
4) Fortified foods
a. OJ (plus Vitamin C)
b. Fortified cereals (great when combined with milk)