I used to think just being outside was enough for the Vitamin D to magically seep into my system, even if it was middle of winter and I was covered up in layers of coats, scarves and sunglasses. Unfortunately, the only part of me actually exposed to the elements (the sun rays) was the tip of my nose so it’s easy to look back and realize why I was so deficient.
You may find it interesting that most adults are believed to be at least somewhat deficient in vitamin D. This includes in the summertime as well because sunscreen, starting at SPF 8, stops the creation of vitamin D where it’s covering.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that’s stored in the liver and fatty tissues. According to Dr Axe, this means that increased body fat has the ability to absorb this vitamin and keep it from being used within the body. Here’s an interesting fact – it’s more than just a vitamin, it actually becomes a steroid hormone (think estrogen!) Having appropriate vitamin D levels in the body helps to manage blood sugar levels, it’s important in preventing type 2 diabetes, it combats heart disease, enhances the immune system, facilitates hormone regulation and helps improve mood, concentration, learning and even our memory aaaaand it impacts bone health in concert with calcium (yes, calcium needs vitamin D to make bones stronger.)
So ya. Getting appropriate levels of this vitamin can make a profound difference in your health!
Vitamin D deficiency can show up as fatigue, general tiredness or lack of energy, body or muscle pain and weakness, depression, poor wound healing, bone or hair loss or the propensity to be sick often. It’s even been connected to autoimmune disorders.
Deficiency is typically a bigger problem versus toxicity (consuming too much.) But this is why knowing your numbers is key. A simple blood test from your doctor will help determine if you need to add in supplement. (In my opinion and experience- if you live above the equator, you need supplementation in the winter months.)
The best way to get Vitamin D is through regular sun exposure, not overlooking the importance of when and how much.
✅ Get 10-30 minutes of sunshine in the morning, making sure your eyes are exposed.
✅ Get at least ten minutes of sunshine around the noon hour. The darker your skin, the more time you should spend outside. If you can’t manage more time, try exposing more skin.
Of course these are generalities and everyone needs to manage their sun exposure based on their own bodies and needs.
It’s important to note that you cannot get vitamin D through a window, so driving in the car or sitting by the window with the sun beaming in doesn’t count. Also keep in mind that it takes the body 48 to fully process it, so avoid showering immediately after being in the sun.
It’s always important to slowly ramp up when you begin taking any new supplement; it’s about balance and remembering that all nutrients are interconnected.