Prevention 101: Getting Enough Vitamin D

Although there has been some controversy about vitamin D due to all of the hype in recent years, there are still some important and surprising benefits to consider. And, those of us who live here in Northern California can get enough by simply stepping outside into some direct sunlight without protection for 10-15 minutes 3x per week. If you haven't seen the sun all winter or work indoors under artificial lighting, supplementing your vitamin D intake might be more important. Check out this article I wrote for Five Pillars Yoga in Manhattan, NY:

Do you notice that your energy is low during long winter months and high during warm summer months? Do you tend to get sick or feel low when the sun disappears?

Image Taken From Five Pillars Yoga

Image Taken From Five Pillars Yoga

If your answer is yes, you may be experiencing a vitamin D deficiency. Other symptoms of deficiency include weak bonesskin problemsdepressionautoimmune disease, and a foggy brain. If you experience any of these symptoms, you are not alone. Vitamin D deficiencies are common, especially among those of us living in the northernmost regions of the world spending the majority of our time indoors under artificial lighting. Other factors that increase the risk of deficiency include weight loss medications, steroids, and low-fat diets.

As you may know, the biggest source of vitamin D is direct sunlight. We tend to associate vitamins with diet and supplements, but most foods are surprisingly low in vitamin D, especially plant-based foods. Vitamin D is more than just a nutrient we consume. It is a hormone our bodies synthesize from food and sunlight that impacts the immune system and our hormonal balance. 

So do not be tricked by its name… Vitamin D is not just a vitamin that you can get by eating a healthy, plant-based diet. Getting enough of this super-nutrient is proving to be more difficult and more important than we knew. To learn more about the preventative benefits and best sources of vitamin D, read on!

THE 4 SURPRISING HEALTH BENEFITS OF VITAMIN D:

1. VITAMIN D HELPS TO MANAGE WEIGHT

A study presented at the European Congress on Obesity in Prague in 2015 suggests that taking a vitamin D supplement may help people with an unhealthy weight to lose weight more rapidly than those who do not take a vitamin D supplement. Read more: Click here.

2. VITAMIN D PREVENTS CANCER, PARTICULARLY BREAST, PROSTATE AND COLON CANCER

Of 63 observational studies of vitamin D in relation to cancer risk, the majority discovered that vitamin D acts as a preventative measure. Read more: Click here.

3. VITAMIN D KEEPS YOUR BONES STRONG

Vitamin D helps the body to absorb calcium, keeping the bones strong. A study found in the US National Library of Medicine by Peter R Ebeling suggests that vitamin D intake coupled with calcium intake creates optimal bone health, preventing bone loss and fractures. According to Ebeling, rates of hip fractures peak during winter months, suggesting seasonal variation of vitamin D deficiency may strongly affect bone health. Read more: Click here.

4. VITAMIN D PREVENTS HEART DISEASE AND DIABETES

According to several studies, increased vitamin D intake lowers blood pressure and helps to regulate insulin. According a study reported by Harvard School of Public Health, men who were deficient in vitamin D were twice as likely to have a heart attack as men who had adequate levels of vitamin D. Read more: Click here.

SO WHAT DO WE DO TO MAKE SURE WE ARE GETTING ENOUGH VITAMIN D? Discover how to get enough: Click here.