As many of you may have noticed, winter is here. The cold days, the dark days, the snowy days, etc. etc. etc… How many of us will 30 minutes of unprotected, 30% exposed skin, sunlight everyday this winter?
Not me. This is the recommended amount of sunlight that we need to produce enough vitamin D in the body (about 5,000-15,000 IU’s worth) for optimal levels. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is naturally produced in the body when exposed to optimal sunlight. It also resembles the structure, very close to cholesterol, which is essential in our body to produce normal levels of a lot of our hormones. There have been many studies, including this recent one, showing some big benefits of Vitamin D.
In a nutshell, Vitamin D deficiencies may lead to seasonal depression, low energy levels, decreased immune function, and weakened bones.
Vitamin D can be found in eggs, milk, fatty fish, and some other products, but are the levels high enough? Research is still out on that. However, at our latitude and LONG winter months, it is safe to assume that some of us may be looking at a vitamin D deficiency.
The only way to really know is to get your blood levels checked. The research is still out on Vitamin D supplementation, however many of the Vitamins top researchers (including Hector DeLuca at UW-Madison) support using a Vitamin D supplement of 2,000 IU/day. This is enough to adequately supply the body (without even coming close to dangerous levels) with what it needs when sun exposure is not enough. If you are interested in a Vitamin D supplement, purchase one that is in the form of Vitamin D3 (this is the most bioavailable) and comes from a reputable company with a “USP verified” stamp on the label.
Get your Vitamin D in check, as we don’t know how long this winter will last…