Vitamin D. The one you get from the sun. That delicious ‘pick me up’ you get from good weather is directly related to your sunshine exposure. Who doesn’t dream of lying in a sunny meadow during a warm summer day? Turns out it’s necessary.
What’s The Buzz?
Vitamin D is found in very few plants, so it’s essential to get your intake from the sun. It’s essential for strong bones. And by that I mean it can be used to treat osteoporosis, is the natural preventative for rickets. If your bones are easily broken, a lack of vitamin D may be the cause. It’s used to treat people with kidney failure to prevent calcium and bone loss.
Vitamin D works for your heart. It lowers high blood pressure and HDL cholesterol levels (bad cholesterol). It helps prevent diabetes, obesity, arthritis muscle weakness, and tooth and gum disease.
There have even been links to Vitamin D and helping prevent bad PMS symptoms and menstrual cramps!
There’s also a strong link between enough Vitamin D and cancer prevention.
Have I sold you on Vitamin D yet?
Vitamin D Deficiency
Now I know people on the Northern parts of the coastline are aware that vitamin D is sometimes hard to get. You live in any place that sees clouds and it’s bound to be something you consider. Or, you live far North and experience that time every winter where you only get 8 and 9 hours of sunshine, most of those spent trapped indoors while you’re at the office.
But what about everyone else? Those people who live in California, and Arizona?
Turns out, most of you still aren’t getting enough sunshine. Partly because people stay inside and hide from the heat, or choose to go out at night to spare themselves the sunburn. People in warmer climes also lean toward darker coloured skin – you spend time tanning – the darker the skin colour, the more time you need to spend in the sun.
So What About Getting Enough Vitamin D
Those of us who are lily white (blondes and fellow gingers, I am looking at you) require maybe ten minutes in the sunshine between the hours of 10 am and 3pm. But if you think you’re getting enough Vitamin D, you should probably know that people in India – by all accounts a very warm and sunny place – are Vitamin D deficient. Upwards of 80% of the population, in fact.
Michael Holick, MD., PhD, explains why people aren’t getting enough Vitamin D from the sunshine. Because those are the hottest hours of the day, and you can’t get enough Vitamin D in the early morning hours. Normally people work, or avoid the highest sunshine points in the day.
In fact, 13% of US deaths can be linked to Vitamin D deficiency (to read more, click here). This is partly because as people get older, the receptors in their skin stop absorbing as much Vitamin D. Also, sunscreen can prevent absorption of Vitamin D. And with the recent and total dependence on sunscreen (hey, it’s even in your makeup – check your foundation) there’s definitely a reason the deficiency is so prevalent.
If you’re concerned about your Vitamin D level. Try the Eisenstein Center’s Vitamin D supplements.