Continuing my ‘winterizing’ tips with the “Sunshine Vitamin” – Vitamin D.
It’s called the ‘Sunshine Vitamin’ for a reason, and that’s because Vitamin D is produced in the skin after it comes in contact with the sun.
Vitamin D Benefits
- Bone and dental health
- Improved muscle function
- Improved calcium absorption
- Immune health
- Cancer prevention (particularly breast and colon)
- Hormone production
- Heart function
Here’s the catch: as we head into winter (November through March), those of us who live above the 37th parallel simply aren’t exposed to enough sunshine. However, even in the summer months when we can get enough sunshine, we are covering ourselves up in layers of clothing, and slapping on sunscreen. And did you know that wearing sunglasses blocks vitamin D production through the retina?
You can get some vitamin D from fortified foods like cereal and orange juice, but better choices are:
- Cod liver oil
- Fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, herring and sardines
- Beef liver
- Egg Yolks
What to know before you buy
Look for vitamin D3 which is the form most easily used by your body
Ask your doctor about the benefits/risks of taking vitamin D3 with K2. These vitamins work together to carry the calcium from the bloodstream into your bones.
Test, don’t guess
Everyone has a different capacity for producing and storing vitamin D, depending on your age, skin colour, diet and where you live so unless you test, you’re only guessing. That’s why I recommend getting your levels tested so you can establish a baseline and your doctor can recommend an intake level. In Canada, testing is covered if you have some pre-existing conditions otherwise the test will cost you approximately $40.00 It’s important to get re-tested after 3 months to see where your levels are at and adjust your doses.
Optimal serum (blood) range of Vitamin D is 100-150 nmol/L.