This time of year in Canada we find ourselves at the brink, slowly and intermittently coming out of hibernation after a long winter spent indoors away from the beauty and benefits of regular sunshine. We are cold, tired of the snow and slush, ready to throw away the snow pants, jackets, hats and mitts, and throw on the shorts, flip-flops and even, dare I say it...a bathing suit.
We run out of the house on those sporadic sunny warm days screaming...
"Spring has Sprung...finally!"
A tell tale sign of Spring
So why do WE feel so "blue" in the winter in canada?
There are many reasons for this, things such as:
- lack of regular exercise, all we want to do is hibernate;
- lack of good quality whole foods - all we want is to eat comfort foods; and,
- cold weather - keeps us indoors and not as active or social.
The list could go on and for many, there are lots of other reasons as well, but one that not all of us think about on a regular basis is the lack of Vitamin D we get without the regular exposure to the sun. If you are lucky enough to live in a sun-drenched country where it shines all day, and you can get your regular daily dose, then please tell me where you live and I'll be there ;) Most of us, however, are not that lucky, and those of us living in Canada really only get regular exposure for 4-6 months of the year.
if your not familiar with vitamin d you're probably asking, What is it and how does it help us?
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that has many functions in the human body.
- It is most notably known for its role in calcium absorption to help combat osteoporosis.
- It also protects against blood sugar abnormalities, high blood pressure, autoimmune disorders such as Rheumatoid Arthritis and Multiple Sclerosis.
- It helps boost your immune system as well as increasing your serotonin levels, and that is why it is also known as the "sunshine" or "happy" vitamin
So now you are probably wondering, how do I get it? There are 3 main answers to this question.
- Diet - Fatty fish; egg yolks; fortified dairy, juice or cereal; or cod liver oil...yummy...not!
- Sun exposure - your skin is able to produce vitamin D when exposed to the UV rays daily.
- Supplements - there are 2 sources D2 (plant sourced) and D3 (animal sourced). D3 is more absorbable by the body and recommended and it is the type that your body produces naturally since we are in the animal and not plant family.
How much should I take?
For infants (up to 2 years) 400-1000IU/day is recommended.
Children (2-12 years) 600 - 1,000IU (per 25lbs of body weight).
Adults (12 +) 600 - 5,000IU/day.
Here are some signs that you may be deficient in vitamin d.
- malformation of bones
- muscle weakness
- dental caries (caveties)
As you can see Vitamin D plays a major role in our body and most of us are walking around deficient. Especially those of us living in 4 season climates where the sun only seems to shine 4-6 months a year. That is why it is key to make sure you are taking a good quality supplement during the sunshine deficient, cold days of winter.
Need a good quality supplement or more information on Vitamin D, then contact me firstname.lastname@example.org.
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