Does the gloom of winter leave you feeling a little under the weather? It’s not just your imagination. Believe it or not, your body needs sunlight to produce vitamin D, which is incredibly important for your health.
Vitamin D Is for More Than Just Bones
Vitamin D may be best known for its beneficial effects on bone health. But vitamin D also plays a role in immune system health and even your overall mood.
It makes sense, especially when you think about people’s health in the winter. Winter is that time of year when everyone seems to catch a cold or a flu. If you’ve ever heard of seasonal affective disorder, you know that winter is also the time of year that many people seem to come down with the blues.
And guess what? Winter is also the time of year when we produce the least amount of vitamin D thanks to the lack of sunlight and proper sun exposure. It doesn’t seem off the mark to say that vitamin D has a lot to say about our immune system and our mood.
But vitamin D does more than just support our mood and immune system. Making sure that you have enough vitamin D could improve conditions like:
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Autoimmune disease
- Cardiovascular disease
- Cold and flu
- Crohn’s disease
- Cystic fibrosis
- Hearing loss
- Heart disease
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Macular degeneration
- Multiple sclerosis
- Muscle pain
- Periodontal disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Types 1 and 2 diabetes
The Ideal Vitamin D Supplement: Sunlight
Our bodies create vitamin D in response to sunlight, but not just any kind of sunlight will do. It’s specifically the UV-B rays in sunlight that trigger our skin to produce vitamin D, specifically vitamin D3, or cholecalciferol. But those UV-B rays aren’t always available to us, even when the sun is out. Whether or not we create any vitamin D3 in response to sunlight depends on altitude, latitude, and even conditions like cloudiness or pollution.
The most optimal hours (and time of year) for you to get UV-B rays from the sun depends largely on where you live. Be sure to do some research to find out when the best times are to get the UV-B rays you need to naturally produce your own vitamin D3. Sunlight exposure outside those time periods might not contribute to any vitamin D production at all.
Be careful about how you get your sun exposure. You might think to slather on some sunscreen and sit in the sun for half an hour to get your vitamin D3, but sunscreen could drastically limit the amount of vitamin D3 that your body produces. Depending on your skin and how easily you burn, you may have to get your sun exposure just a few minutes at a time.
Vitamin D Deficiency
Sadly, regulating your vitamin D levels in the winter usually isn’t as simple as enjoying a bright, sunshiny day. For many of us, the winter means we can’t get those UV-B rays from the sun to make our own vitamin D3. So what do we do?
Some of you may be able to turn to tanning beds--ones that use electronic ballasts and not magnetic ballasts--as a way to keep making your own vitamin D3. But if that isn’t an option for you, you can always take vitamin D3 supplements.
When taking oral supplements to maintain your vitamin D3 levels, make sure you have your vitamin D levels checked first. As with many vitamins and minerals, you can have too much of a good thing. You don’t want to take so much vitamin D3 that you exceed an optimal range.
If you do opt to take vitamin D3 supplements, be sure to take a supplement like Vitamin D Synergy. Vitamin D Synergy contains vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) and vitamin K2, which is necessary to take with vitamin D. Vitamin D increases your demand for vitamin K2. These two vitamins work together to support bone health.
Did you have your vitamin D levels checked only to learn that you’re deficient in vitamin D? Be sure to address the root cause of that deficiency as well. In the winter, it’s likely that a vitamin D deficiency is due to lack of sunlight, but digestive issues or lead toxicity could also be to blame. You may not be absorbing vitamin D from your food properly, or lead could be interfering with vitamin D metabolism. (1)
If a digestive issue is to blame, have your digestive tract tested to determine the root cause of your digestive issues. You can come see us here at Ecobeautica in Brooklyn for a digestive tract test. Our digestive tract tests analyze:
- Digestion and absorption
- Gut immunology as related to allergies, inflammation, gastrointestinal disorders, etc.
- Metabolic issues
- The microbiology of your gut, including any bacterial overgrowth, parasites, probiotics, and yeast
By identifying your gut’s weak spots, we could work with you to seal and strengthen your gut again. Depending on the specific kind of support your gut needs, you may need probiotics from fermented foods or high-quality supplements like Probiotic Synergy™ to get your gut up and running again.
If lead toxicity is the reason behind your low vitamin D levels, detoxification could rid your body of lead and other heavy metals and toxins, normalizing your vitamin D3 metabolism again. You could further support your body’s natural detoxification system with our range of detoxification products.
So if your mood or health takes a nosedive in the winter, get your vitamin D levels checked! Take the steps necessary to bring those levels back to normal.