Between the combination of the modern lifestyle, seasonal changes, latitude and fear of sun damage, we have shied away from a much-needed vitamin: Vitamin D. Most of us work indoors spending little time in the sun, and if we do go outside we slather on SPF50 so we don’t get sun damage or wrinkles! While it is good to protect yourself (especially small children) while spending hours at the beach, too much protection is actually detrimental to your health! We must have a balance as with all things in life. I’m totally guilty of overprotecting myself from the sun as I’m an esthetician, and that was one of the primary peices of information we learned about anti-aging and prevention of skin cancer. Too much sun is not the only reason for skin cancer as poor diet and lifestyle are the big contributors. Sun damage occurs by over-doing it or using tanning booths, not by spending 20 minutes daily in the sunshine. However, I always cover my face and declate (chest/neck area) regardless of how long I’m in the sun because those areas are much more sensitive, thin-skinned and prone to sun damage. We have to preserve those beautiful mugs! 🙂
A 2000 study reported in the Archives of Internal Medicine reports that 77 percent of Americans are vitamin-D deficient. Numerous studies have shown D’s crucial role in strengthening bones, fighting depression, improving mood and energy, relieving menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, regulating blood pressure, boosting immunity and stimulating/regulating the absorption of calcium.
Food sources of vitamin D:
Cod Liver Oil: 1 Tablespoon is 1360 IU
Sardines, canned in oil: 500 IU
Salmon, cooked: 360 IU
Egg yolk: 20 IU
Not many choices via food? Get 20-30 minutes of sunlight on your arms and legs every other day.
**KEY NOTE: soap washes the vitamin D precursors from the skin surface before the 48 hours required for complete absorbtion!! The best time to catch some rays is right after a shower, so the enzymes on your skin have time to absorb before the next shower. As a culture, most of wash way too often, washing off beneficial vitamin D enzymes and drying out our precious skin.
Another option is a supplement (get your vitamind D levels checked at your next Doctor’s office visit- it’s standard with the yearly check-up/blood test). On a blood test, ideal D levels should be between 40-75 ng/mL with over 100 ng/mL reaching the point of toxicity, so don’t overdo your supplements! The recommend daily intake of Vitamin D is 600 IU, but most Doctor’s and Nutritionists recommend 2,000-4,000 IU if one is deficient, living in colder climates (such as Vermont! :), African American (pigmentation reduces Vitamin D production in the skin) and simply people who get minimal sunlight. It should be in the form of Vitamin D3- cholecalciferol.
Here are a few trusted brand supplements to choose from if low in Vitamin D:
Now go catch some rays and watch your mood get a boost almost immediately! 🙂