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.
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.
THE YOGA OF MEAL PLANNING
LED BY STACY LEUNG
Wednesday May 10th 6:30-8pm