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Vitamin D: The Sunshine Vitamin

Why do they call Vitamin D the Sunshine Vitamin? 

Sunlight on our skin is how our bodies were designed to meet most of our vitamin D requirements. When sunshine hits our skin, it interacts with a type of cholesterol that is naturally made in the body. This begins the complex series of biochemical processes that lead to the synthesis of vitamin D.

Essentially, sunlight is life for the body!

But, the plunging temperatures that drive us to stay inside during the winter months in the Northern hemisphere, and the lower position of the sun, make it difficult to get enough UVB radiation for the body to produce sufficient vitamin D.

For most parts of the United States, vitamin D made from sunlight exposure is minimal between November-February. Studies consistently show that vitamin D levels tend to peak in September and are at the lowest in March for most Americans.

By optimizing our vitamin D production from the summertime UVB rays, we can carry some into the winter since its stored in our fat cells. Yet, work-life balance makes it nearly impossible to achieve the “peak” stored vitamin D by September, which will be necessary to carry you through the winter months.

Feeling a bit moody during the winter?

Yes, you really may have the “winter blues,” as vitamin D plays a significant role in supporting a healthy mood. An estimated 25-35% of people have seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or some form of winter blues.  This is often related to hormonal imbalances, and low vitamin D levels can play a role in this since it supports healthy hormone production.

A healthy mood and a good energy level are just a few of the many benefits that vitamin D can offer. Studies have shown that a vitamin D deficiency can increase your risk for the following conditions: obesity, diabetes, hypertension, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and some cancers.

5 Easy Steps you can take:

Step 1: Get outside on sunny days.

Step 2: Ask your care provider to check your vitamin D levels.

Step 3: Talk to a dietitian about diet changes for vitamin D rich foods.

Step 4: Consider supplements.

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