Five Pillars Yoga

Posts Tagged ‘vitamin D’

Vitamin D & Vitamin “Sea”

As daylight hours begin to wane and the weather cools down, there are some snowbirds among us who, upon anxiously anticipating the dark & cold winter months as soon as summer weather bid us farewell, have already booked tickets to the warmer regions of the world. After all, some of us have braved the cold northeastern winter months for long enough to know that breaking it up with a quick—or not sooo quick—tropical getaway is essential for our health and sanity.

You may want to consider joining our incredible Winter Retreat in Tulum. Your twice daily yoga practice will be supported by floating in the salty sea. Enough said… a healthy, joyful new you for the New Year is not only possible, but certain!

On that same vain, there are scientifically proven health benefits to spending some quality time in the sun by the sea, especially when Vitamin D is all but unavailable at home in NYC (and everywhere else with a long, cold Winter) until late Spring.

Vitamin D helps the body to absorb calcium, maintaining healthy bones. Since it’s not readily available in the food we eat (aside from fortified foods), most people get enough Vitamin D from sunlight. As you know, exposing bare skin to the sunlight during the cold winter months is a challenge that few people would choose, so many people become deficient in Vitamin D during the late-Fall & Winter months. To make sure you don’t become deficient, you may want to consider supplementing and/or booking your winter getaway!

Research on Vitamin D reports amazing health benefits:

  • – improves brain health

  • – prevents osteoporosis and slows bone mineral degeneration

  • – prevents certain cancers

  • – helps people lose weight

  • – good for the heart

  • – lowers blood sugar & regulates insulin



How to get enough Vitamin D:

The BIG question about sun exposure is how much? After all, we don’t want to risk skin cancer while we are boosting our Vitamin D. Experts suggest that 5-10 minutes of sunshine (when the sun is high) or 15 minutes of sunshine (when the sun sits low) without sunscreen several times per week may be enough to maintain healthy levels of Vitamin D. After that, protecting your skin from overexposure can keep you healthy and happy without uncomfortable and unsightly sunburns or risking cancer.

If you are interested in learning more about the health benefits of vitamin D and how to add vitamin D to your diet, CLICK HERE.

The Benefits of #Vitamin Sea

If boosting your Vitamin D and enjoying the relaxation of warm weather isn’t enough to get you to book your winter vacation, or at least get outside more this late-Fall & Winter, consider the health benefits of spending time by the ocean. 

The age-old wisdom that being near the seaside is good for your health has been proven to be true. Blue zones, the five locations in the world that boast the largest numbers of centenarians (100+ years-old), all exist within a short distance from the ocean, if not directly next to the sea. While there are  several culturally-influenced lifestyle overlaps (nutrition, community support, genetics & LAUGHTER) in these zones, location may play its part. Maybe it’s the extra oxygen, or the clean, fresh air. Regardless, you know how good you feel when you spend time under the sun, or lying in the shade of a palm tree, by the sea. 


* Featured Photo by Farsai Chaikulngamdee on Unsplash

* Additional Photo by David Hofmann on Unsplash

The 4 Surprising Health Benefits of Vitamin D

Do you notice that your energy is low during long winter months and high during warm summer months? Do you tend to get sick or feel low when the sun disappears?

If your answer is yes, you may be experiencing a vitamin D deficiency. Other symptoms of deficiency include weak bones, skin problems, depression, autoimmune disease, and a foggy brain. If you experience any of these symptoms, you are not alone. Vitamin D deficiencies are common, especially among those of us living in the northernmost regions of the world spending the majority of our time indoors under artificial lighting. Other factors that increase the risk of deficiency include weight loss medications, steroids and low-fat diets.

As you may know, the biggest source of vitamin D is direct sunlight. We tend to associate vitamins with diet and supplements, but most foods are surprisingly low in vitamin D, especially plant-based foods. Vitamin D is more than just a nutrient we consume. It is a hormone our bodies synthesize from food and sunlight that impacts the immune system and our hormonal balance. 

So do not be tricked by its name… Vitamin D is not just a vitamin that you can get by eating a healthy, plant-based diet. Getting enough of this super-nutrient is important. As with anything, we don’t need to get swept away with the hype. Instead, we can educate ourselves about how to get enough and why it is important, so we can stay healthy.

To learn more about the preventative benefits and best sources of vitamin D, read on!

The 4 Surprising Health Benefits of Vitamin D:

1. Vitamin D helps to manage weight

A study presented at the European Congress on Obesity in Prague in 2015 suggests that taking a vitamin D supplement may help people with an unhealthy weight to lose weight more rapidly than those who do not take a vitamin D supplement. Read more: Click here.

2. Vitamin D prevents cancer, particularly breast, prostate and colon cancer

Of 63 observational studies of vitamin D in relation to cancer risk, the majority discovered that vitamin D acts as a preventative measure. Read more: Click here.

3. Vitamin D keeps your bones strong

Vitamin D helps the body to absorb calcium, keeping the bones strong. A study found in the US National Library of Medicine by Peter R Ebeling suggests that vitamin D intake coupled with calcium intake creates optimal bone health, preventing bone loss and fractures. According to Ebeling, rates of hip fractures peak during winter months, suggesting seasonal variation of vitamin D deficiency may strongly affect bone health. Read more: Click here.

4. Vitamin D prevents heart disease and diabetes

According to several studies, increased vitamin D intake lowers blood pressure and helps to regulate insulin. According a study reported by Harvard School of Public Health, men who were deficient in vitamin D were twice as likely to have a heart attack as men who had adequate levels of vitamin D. Read more: Click here.

So what do we do to make sure we are getting enough vitamin D? 

Meeting the RDA of 200-600 IU/day for most adults requires daily meals centered around fish, eggs and fortified foods or a healthy dose of sunlight and/or supplements if you do not eat animal products. And recent research that highlights the importance of vitamin D for long-term health compelled Dr. Andrew Weil to increase his daily recommendation to 2,000 IU of vitamin D per day! With this increased recommendation, how do we get enough?


With the seasons changing, we can get some vitamin D from the sun without risking the dangers of skin cancer. WebMD and Holick, the author of UV Advantage, have some simple and doable suggestions.

“Let’s say you’re on Cape Cod or a New Jersey beach in the summer,” Holick tells WebMD. “Just five to ten minutes in the sun two to three times a week — exposing your hands, legs, and arms — is more than adequate to satisfy your vitamin D requirements, and you’re not likely to significantly increase your risk of skin cancer in the process. Then after that five to ten minutes of exposure, put on a sunscreen of SPF 15 or greater for the rest of your time in the sun.” – Read more: click here.


Learn more from Dr. Axe: Click here.


You can also get vitamin D by taking supplements or focusing on your diet. 

Dr. Axe’s infographic shows that consuming fish, milk and eggs can help you meet your needs. If you follow a plant-based diet, getting enough vitamin D from food may be next to impossible. So if you are not into eating fish, eggs and dairy on a daily basis, you may want to consider taking a supplement, especially when you are not able to spend time in direct sunlight.

Vitamin D is proving to be a super nutrient that impacts the ability to absorb calcium, our nervous systems, our cardiovascular systems, our structural and muscular systems, and more. When we are experiencing a deficiency, we may be more susceptible to the common cold at first, but a deficiency can progress into life-threatening illness. So let’s get on the prevention train today! To learn more about Right Nutrition, consider attending Stacy Leung’s upcoming FREE talk. To learn more, click here.



Wednesday May 10th 6:30-8pm

Click here to reserve your free spot