The time has come again for inevitable shift to come up upon us. As summer draws to a close, so does the time you spend in the sun. This is particularly true for women in northern locations where the days are quite short and the sun doesn’t shine much in the winter. A lack of sun isn’t about just not being able to eat lunch or walk around outside, it can also significantly affect your health. That’s because moderate, careful sun exposure is the best way to naturally get a very important nutrient, vitamin D.
All About Vitamin D
Your body synthesizes vitamin D from sunlight. The sun is your most significant natural source of this fat-soluble nutrient, although it is present in small amounts in certain foods. The highest vegetable source of vitamin D available is shiitake mushrooms.
Vitamin D plays many critical roles in your body
- Promotes calcium absorption and maintains serum calcium levels.
- Prevents osteomalacia in adults and rickets in children.
- Modulates cell growth.
- Strengthens immune function.
Risks Associated with Low Vitamin D
Having consistently low levels of vitamin D can lead to a number of health problems.
- A recent study showed that people with low levels of vitamin D had a 30 percent greater risk of death than those with normal levels.
- The same study showed frail people had more than double the risk of death when they had low vitamin D levels.
- Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to cognitive impairment.
- Children with vitamin D deficiency have a higher risk of asthma.
- More than 75 percent of cancer patients have a vitamin D deficiency.
- People with low vitamin D may experience weakened immunity.
Could You Be Deficient?
You may be deficient in vitamin D and not realize it. People at risk for vitamin D deficiency include:
- People in northern locations
- People with dark skin
- Obese people
- People with digestive tract disorders such as celiac and Crohn’s disease
- People with limited exposure to sunlight
- People who always wear sunscreen
While you may experience symptoms such as muscle, joint, or bone aches or decreased immunity, you could be deficient in vitamin D and not even realize it. If you suspect you may deficient or are a member of one of the above higher risk populations, ask your health care provider for a vitamin D blood serum test to determine your vitamin D status.
How to Get More Vitamin D
So what if it’s winter, you live in a northern climate, you work indoors, and you can’t stomach the idea of eating loads of shiitake mushrooms? Try the following:
- Spending time with skin exposed even on cloudy days can up your vitamin D levels, as well. Try to spend 20 minutes on cloudy or winter days, and 10 minutes on sunny days soaking up the sun.
- Consider supplementing vitamin D3. Try the Garden of Life multivitamin formulas, mens and women’s, which include vitamin D3 from a vegan source.
You can work with your health care provider to determine dosage recommendations for vitamin D3. According to the Mayo Clinic, if you are deficient in vitamin D it is safe to take up to 1,000 IU of vitamin D daily with a safe upper limit as high as 10,000 IU (250 mcg). If you’re not deficient, you need 600 IU of D3 each day until the age of 70, and then you need 800 IU if you are pregnant, lactating, or over the age of 70.
Vitamin D is an extremely important nutrient along with all the essential vitamins, which is why it pays to be vigilant. Even if you don’t believe you are deficient in vitamin D, try to spend time even a few moments outdoors in the winter and consider supplementing to maintain good health. The sun, highly demonized in our society, is the source of life on our planet. A few minutes can have various health benefits, and non-chemical sunscreens are available to you as well.
Great information! I live in Portland,OR and in the Fall/Winter months I know I’ve been deficient in Vitamin D. I’m going to be including mushrooms in to my salads now. Thx Kim
Hi Kim, what is the best way to prepare shiitake mushrooms? In terms of cooking preparation and where to buy them as well. Thanks!!
Thanks!! Good reminder now that summer is ending!
I live in SE Qld, Oz, where the sun never seems to stop shining. When I first got here, I got a rip-roaring sunburn that made me sick, it was so bad, so I’ve been religiously avoiding the sun ever since. BUT. I think I might have gone overboard: really think I’m not getting *enough* sun exposure now. Love those green smoothies, but I really need to get more Vit D… all my friends tell me I look too pale. Not that I want a LOT of sun, but – like you said – 10 minutes around here would get me sufficient sun to fill the bill.
Good advice – thanks, Kimberly! 🙂
I didn’t realize the importance of Vitamin D . . . or any vitamin . . . until I was diagnosed with MS almost 4 years ago. How much sun do we really get? We’re indoors mostly during the week and whatever sun we get on the weekends is not enough. It’s really only strong enough during the summer in my area and that’s not enough. Plus most people put on sunscreen before they go outdoors. I am coming realize that it is good to have some time in the sun before the sunscreen. And it’s important to have a blood test to measure your Vit D level – most of us are deficient. The test I have done is 25-hydroxy.
I’ve had blood work done and my vitamin D was extremely low even though I tan easily and live in Southern California. I’m on 2,000 IU’s a day. I had my 16 yr old daughter do blood work as well and her Vitamin D levels were low, along with her B’s. So important to take supplements! Love the information that you share and bring awareness to us!! Thank you!
So this is completly off topic but what probiotic do you reccomend…i know that you use Dr.Ohhira’s but its a bit expensive do you have any lower priced ones you like as an alternitive to Dr.Ohhira’s? Thanks Girl!
I live in Fairbanks, Alaska and have for the last 34 years. With living where the sun practically disappears for months during the winter I consoled myself for the lack of sun with having skin that hasn’t aged as much as many my age who enjoy sunshine year round. My body did suffer from digestive issues and thinning hair, nails and I tried many supplements to see if I could boost their strength. This summer required me to go on daily walks outdoors for an hour with my two dogs (our elder dog died and we adopted a new pup that required exercise that couldn’t be done inside the house) had me exposed to the summer sun for the first time in many years…surprise to discover my hair started showing re-growth, my stomach issues are almost resolved, and my nails no longer split! Could it be just the addition of the daily sun infusion since nothing else had changed? Sun has been considered evil but it’s importance can’t be denied. I’m going to miss it this winter more than usual.
Thanks for this info, Kim! I just found out I am on the low end of my Vitamin D levels, but still at a healthy range. I want to make sure I produce more, so I have to send more time in the sun, since I have a darker complexion.
Hey Kim!! I have a quick question about the BDS. I have been on blossoming beauty phase for a month now and feel so wonderful! I can really tell a difference! My question is in regards to the Magnesium Oxide supplement. I have been taking 800 to 1200mg per night. I have been on the birth control pill for years ( I know, I know… Not the best). I am wondering if taken at night with my mag oxide, will it lose effectiveness?? I sure hope not. I am such a huge fan and love what you are doing!! Have a wonderful week!!
Great article. Cancer and all chronic diseases are preventable thru natural means and prevention is the key. The maddening thing about cancer has always been that it is an advanced disease by the time it is discovered. This is because cancer begins at the cellular level and at that point is virtually undetectable. Cancer-prevention is about providing our body the tools needed to kill the microscopic cancer cells or block their growth before they have a chance to grow.
Hi Kimberly, I was wondering if you could suggest a good Vitamin D3 brand. Thanks!!!
9c piece. u guys are readily in heaven.here in nigeria who wil give u this type of information. we are living on grace. thank u
Here’s a link about vitamin D from the Mayo Clinic: remember it is a fat soluble vitamin meaning it’s better absorbed from fat sources and will be stored in your liver.
You are right low vitamin D can cause or effect to our body and make it ill so by taking good food and proper take care of our body can save our life. Thanks for the post keep sharing some more posts.
Should I supplement with vitamin K if I am taking vitamin D3? I have read that you will need vitamin K to “direct” the calcium to the bones. Otherwise, it could end up as plaque insider your arterites.