With daylight hours fading to a precious minimum these days now’s a good time to think about Vitamin D, the “sunshine vitamin”. Did you know that 40-60% of the US population is vitamin D deficient? Vitamin D is the only vitamin the body manufactures from sunlight (UVB). But the level of vitamin D found in our body has been compromised because many of us:
1. spend so much time indoors
2. live in Northern climates where sunlight is limited
3. use sunscreen extensively
You probably know that vitamin D is good for healthy teeth and bones. But there are numerous additional benefits as well. Vitamin D deficiency is a root cause of:
depression and chronic fatigue syndrome
high blood pressure
How do I get sufficient Vitamin D?
With 15-20 minutes of exposure to sunshine per day your body will make 10,000-15, 000IUs of Vitamin D. Morning sunshine is best. Other than sunlight, Vitamin D comes from eating cold water fish like salmon, mackerel and sardines, cod liver oil, egg yolks, fortified milk and beef liver.
Although the DV (daily value as defined by the FDA) for vitamin is 400IU, studies have shown that higher levels, depending on your specific test results, are optimal.
What about Vitamin D enriched foods?
Sadly these haven’t had much impact on Vitamin D levels since many food manufacturers cut costs by using a synthetic form of vitamin D.
My personal experience with Vitamin D:
I started taking a vitamin D3 supplement a couple of years ago. After just a few weeks I automatically felt a “mood lift”. Granted I am not a depressed person normally, but the vitamin D made me feel even better.
Until today I’ve never actually had the level of vitamin D in my body tested. While your doctor can do a vitamin D panel, I chose to do a home test from D-Action. The test was simple: I washed my hands in hot water, cleaned my fingertip with an alcohol wipe lanced it (not a big deal I promise) and let the blood drops absorb onto a test paper which I mailed in for testing. Results should be here in a couple of weeks. I’ll keep you posted!