You may be starting to feel the effect of the cold weather outside, and with the cold comes much less time outdoors. Thus, you may very well be thinking about your levels of vitamin D. Vitamin D deficiency is actually very common, and it’s estimated that around 50% of the world’s population suffers from some degree of vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin D’s main role is to help the development of bones and teeth. In fact, up to 80% of hip replacement patients have a vitamin D deficiency. The vitamin is actually a pro-hormone, not technically a vitamin, because the body is capable of producing its own vitamin D due to sunlight absorption through the skin. True vitamins are nutrients that cannot be produced by our own bodies. Vitamin D is also intrinsic to the regulation of insulin and diabetes management. It supports lung function and cardiovascular health as well.
The good news is that it doesn’t take much at all to start to synthesize Vitamin D. Researchers have discovered that sun exposure on bare skin for 5-10 minutes just two or three times a week allows the body to produce sufficient vitamin D levels. The best way to obtain vitamin D is to get it naturally through sunlight’s contact with the skin. If you can’t, the next best place to stop is through your diet. Eating fatty fish is a great way to get vitamin D—fish like salmon, trout, and tuna are great sources. Fortified cereals and milk are another great source of vitamin D when sunlight isn’t readily available.
Keep an eye on your nutrition labels and try to head outside for 15-20 minutes anytime you have a nice day. Vitamin D is important, and as we head into winter, it’s harder to encourage its natural synthesis due to the change in seasons. If you aren’t getting it from heading outdoors (skin must be exposed to the sun, the reaction won’t occur through clothing), make sure you get it via your diet.
The Pleasant Hills Apothecary Team