Since we are moving full swing into summer and we are getting our fair share of bright, hot, sunny days I thought it would be a good time to talk a little about Vitamin D. What do bright sunny days have to do with Vitamin D you ask? It’s pretty simple actually. The sun happens to be the only significant source of real Vitamin D. Really, it’s true. And unfortunately it is estimated that upwards of 60% of our population or more is deficient in Vitamin D.
So what is it?
Technically Vitamin D is not even a vitamin, it’s actually a steroid hormone which is vital to our bodies. It creates enzymes and proteins which aid in rebuilding tissue, strengthening bones, helping to create insulin, support our immune system, and on and on. Other vitamins like A, B, C etc. have to be consumed through our diet because our bodies can’t make them. But when it comes to Vitamin D it’s a different story. When the rays from the sun hit us, our skin converts that energy into Vitamin D, meaning we actually make it. The only other way to get it is from taking supplements, although very small doses of it can be found in a few foods around the world. For all of you milk drinkers who are saying, “That can’t be true. My milk has Vitamin D.” Sorry, but that milk is fortified with a synthetic form of the Vitamin. Anyone who knows me at all knows that I am not an advocate for dairy in the first place. If you are drinking lots of milk for the purpose of getting calcium, protein, and Vitamin D, you need to understand that there are lots of other not so healthy things in that milk as well, especially if it is not a legitimate organic product. The commercial milk on the market is being taken from cows on factory farms which have been given antibiotics, steroids, growth hormone, ammonia etc.
Are you fatigued?
One of the first and most obvious symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency is fatigue. In addition, an overall feeling of weakness, muscle aches, joint aches, and lack of sustainable energy can be experienced. Most people write these things off as just being overworked or stressed out. The best way to find out is to have a really simple blood test next time you go to the doctor. You may be surprised to find that you too are deficient in this vitamin. So why are so many many of us deficient? The answer to that question most likely lies in our overwhelming need to slather sunblock all over our bodies before we even see one single ray of sunshine, as well as the fact that these days people simply stay indoors far more often than they should. Don’t get me wrong, I do not condone burning the skin into blisters in order to get some nutrition.
So what should I do?
Get more sun and/or take a good natural Vitamin D3 supplement. I’m not saying don’t ever use sunblock. I’m suggesting that before you lather up with it get some sun exposure on your skin. For me, 20-30 minutes in the bright sun and then I will put some block on because I am somewhat fair skinned. The darker your skin is the longer it takes for the conversion of Vitamin D from the sun. Understand that companies are making billions of dollars telling you that any time in the sun gives you cancer so you should take a bath in sunblock. Although there is a connection between long term high exposure to the sun and Melanoma, we really need to get some exposure to it.