For most people a long and hard winter is coming to an end. Winter is a double whammy for people residing in the Midwest and northern regions. It is chilly and the sun plays hide and seek. Most of us work in closed environments, are driving in our cars or working out inside the gym. These realities of modern life deprive us of much needed Vitamin D.
Vitamin D is more important than one would think. Almost half of the population may be deficient in Vitamin D, which is a real problem. Most people know of Vitamin D as the Calcium Vitamin, the foods associated with it are cheese, milk & eggs. Low levels of vitamin D in your system will result in muscle weakness & bone pain, which ends up creating laziness & lack of movement. It ends up taking a toll on your body’s mental health too. By not receiving enough Vitamin D, you are more likely to get a worse night’s sleep, be susceptible to depression and other mood disorders.
Vitamin D Boosts Immunity
Zinc and Vitamin C are known to ward against colds and flu’s. Having optimal Vitamin D helps aid our immune system to keep infections at bay, it reduces inflammation and chances of upper respiratory infections as well.
Vitamin D affects your intestinal health too. While Probiotics are crucial in achieving digestive balance, Vitamin D also plays an important role in the health of the gut mucosal lining in restoring beneficial gut bacteria. It is effective in protecting against viruses.
Cancer and Vitamin D
When it comes to cancer, recent findings on epigenetics and the slow growth rate of many cancers, it’s a comfort to know we wield enormous power in our ability to prevent a worst-case scenario. Optimizing your vitamin D levels is one simple, affordable, and incredibly effective way to go about this.
Vitamin D insufficiency is common in many types of cancer, most notably breast, prostate, lung, thyroid, and colorectal cancer; with 77 percent of patients either deficient or with suboptimal levels. And the lower their levels, the more aggressive the cancer. Optimal vitamin D levels have also been shown to affect cancer outcomes by decreasing mortality rates.
Vitamin D and Sleep
Getting more Vitamin D in your day to day regime is important, but getting it at a particular time matters too. Having Vitamin D before bed affects your melatonin levels (sleep hormone), so taking some before bed would disturb your sleep pattern. Getting a daily dose of Vitamin D during the morning is suited best for a more productive day & a better night’s sleep.
How do I know I’m not getting enough Vitamin D?
You’re always tired, even after getting a good night’s sleep. You’re feeling down or even depressed, vitamin D receptors have been found in many parts of the brain, including in areas linked to depression. Your bones & muscles hurt, they are bit more stiff than normal. Your immune system becomes weaker, which makes you more prone to catching sicknesses that are going around. You’re more prone to stress fractures, without getting enough Vitamin D, calcium is not absorbed properly.
Too much Vitamin D can actually be a bad thing. You can be more receptive to inflammation & headaches. To make sure your body has optimal levels of Vitamin D have your doctor order a 25-OH D test also known as 25 hydroxy vitamin D test. In most cases optimal amount is between 45 to 65 ng/ml.
How can I get enough Vitamin D on a daily basis?
There are plenty of ways to get vitamin D, the easiest way may be just stepping outside daily. Your body will create its own Vitamin D when it’s revealed to the sun. That more than likely won’t be enough for a daily dose, but it’s a relatively easy way to receive more Vitamin D. You can also eat food like: eggs, cheese, egg yolk, fatty fish, cereal, mushrooms to help increase your Vitamin D levels. Drinking milk is also a great way to increase Vitamin D levels.
Here is the Vitamin D Council’s sun exposure guidelines based on skin type:
- Those with very light to light skin likely need 10 to 15 minutes of unprotected sun exposure.
- Those with naturally tan skin can take unprotected sun for 15 to 20 minutes.
- While those with darker skin can safely take one to two hours of unprotected sun exposure.
When it comes to being in direct contact with the sun, please follow these guidelines. All nutrients play a crucial, symbiotic role in maintaining health, vitamin D is especially important as it is essential for nearly every single bodily system and function including the musculoskeletal, gastrointestinal, renal, endocrine, and cardiovascular systems.
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