Ohhhhhhh daylight savings time...you might be the bane of my existence. That might be a little extreme, but this time of the year is challenging for me until I get in the swing of the early sunset and lack of daily sunshine. This is where vitamin D is critical for health, energy, and happiness!
It is estimated anywhere from 80-90% of the American population is deficient in vitamin D. Below are 3 reasons why it is vital to have adequate vitamin D levels.
#1: Stronger Bones- When you think of strong bones, calcium often comes to mind. Calcium is the major player when it comes to bone health and increasing bone mineral density, but don't overlook the importance of vitamin D.
Previous research has shown that vitamin D is a strong stimulator of calcium deposition in bones, making them stronger and healthier. If you're not getting enough vitamin D, your body begins to slow or stop depositing calcium into bones, eventually drawing calcium out from your bones back into the bloodstream. Over time, this constant cycle of deposit and withdrawal will make your bones weak and at high risk for fractures.
#2: Improved Immunity- Helps to reduce upper respiratory infections in both summer and winter. Vitamin D also reduces inflammation in the body, making it important for people with many health conditions like diabetes, infertility, autoimmunity, or metabolic syndrome.
#3 Happiness!- For those of you that follow me, you know I am the lover of all things sunshine; hence, my nickname of Sun Goddess (see Halloween costume picture above). One of the easiest ways to increase vitamin D is to get outside and enjoy the natural sunlight, which promotes happiness and emotional stability. It is common for people to get depressed, anxious, SAD (aka: Seasonal Affective Disorder) during the winter due to the lack of sunshine.
WHAT TO DO:
It is recommended to get 20 minutes of sunshine without sunscreen on the skin daily to promote increased vitamin D absorption. Nix the sunglasses for 20 minutes too as the the sun rays need to hit your eyes for optimal absorption.
I highly recommend to get your vitamin D levels tested. If you are feeling low on energy, it could be an easy fix by increasing vitamin D supplementation. During the winter months, I take 5000IU daily with breakfast. If you are extremely low, mega-dosing could be an option, but make sure to work with a practitioner before proceeding, because vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin so it is important not to take too much, since the body does store some.