The days are getting shorter, the sun is casting shadows in different spots in my yard and the nights require another blanket on the bed. September is here.
Fall is lovely and there is much to be grateful for: pumpkin spice everything, warm fires, a brisk walk, fall TV shows and cozying up with a good book and hot tea. One of the downsides to fall is our beginning downward slide in Vitamin D production. When the shadows begin, it’s a good sign that the sun is hitting us at a different angle and therefore we aren’t producing the D we so need for our health.
Vitamin D or the “sunshine vitamin” is made in our body when the ultraviolet rays hit our skin. The reduction or lack of sunshine makes our D levels decline over time therefore it is essential if you live someplace other than the tropics, you take a D supplement.
The best defense is to sit outside for 15-20 minutes per day in the sun and supplement with D3, the natural form of vitamin D. It comes from sheep’s wool lanolin or fish liver like in cod liver oil. You can find both forms in liquid or pills online or at your local health store or natural market. I take 2000-5000 iu per day depending on the time of year. Like many, I seem to have a hard time absorbing it. I get a blood test once per year to check my levels with my doctor. I try and maintain levels from 50+. Studies have shown women with 70+ or higher have little incidence of breast cancer. Most multi vitamin supplements only contain 400 iu so check the label of your multi to make sure. If it’s that low, take extra.
If you are an outdoor person and think your D level is high now because of this summer, ask yourself – did you slather the sunblock on? If yes, then of course you did right by protecting your skin but of course in the process you hinder your D production so you must supplement. If you got your tan on with little art no sunscreen then keep in mind, D levels will continue to drop as the days go by, making it essential to supplement.
There are so many things to learn and know about health but vitamin D is really important because it’s related to our physical and mental well being.
MOOD – Proper D levels combat depression which can also relieve anxiety. In these anxious times, vitamin D can help us. Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD is when people develop depression, anxiety or the “winter blues.” Proper D levels can help with SAD.
OVERALL – Sufficient D levels keep our hormones and bone health in check. Low D levels can cause sleep disorders and disruptions and more serious illnesses such as cancer, auto-immune disease and bone injuries. And now early studies are suggesting vitamin D protects against COVID-19 infection and against serious complications and fatalities. I’m sure more details will follow as we study the virus but in the meantime, there is nothing to lose by taking D because of all the other heath benefits and no downside. As always, consult your doctor or practitioner for proper care.
The “sunshine vitamin” is calling out to you this fall.