You survived the holidays and now we’re going into to the cold, dark, dead of winter. It’s gray, cold and nasty and you really just want to stay in bed all day. You can’t get motivated to get to your gym and would rather eat crappy food and veg. You know its not right but what is wrong???
You may be Vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, is produced by the skin with exposure to the sun. But in the winter you never get that exposure and even in the summer you are most likely not getting much.
If live north of 40 degrees latitude you cannot get enough sun even at midday in the winter. That’s Denver or Philly. In the summer most people have been scared to death of skin cancer. But the truth is the odds of getting caner from sun exposure is very slight, even for very fair skinned people. Using SPF of 8 or higher blocks exactly those rays that your body needs to create Vitamin D and does very little to prevent sunburn.
The problems caused by lack of Vitamin D far outweigh the risk of skin cancer [Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology 2003 April; 2(2):86-98]A.
Some of the diseases caused by lack of Vitamin D include:
- Weaker bones (Rickets!) and teeth, especially in kids!
- Abnormally shaped brains in newborns
- Lower immune system response to the flu and other diseases
- Moodiness, depression, S.A.D. are all related to low levels of Vitamin D
- Calcification in the arteries
- Increased risk of death from Cardiovascular disease
- Cognitive impairment
As you can see low levels of Vitamin D can cause a host of problems and doctors ignore all this and tell people to avoid the sun at all costs which just makes things worse.
What can you do? Take a high quality D3 supplement D3 is the what your body produces, D2 is a synthetic version. But don’t go by the recommended dosage on the bottle. Current research show that you should be getting at least 2000 I.U per day and possibly 10,000 to 15,000 per day!
Last year the U.S. government raised the recommend daily allowance from 200 to 650 I.U. that’s like getting in the sun for 6 minutes at the equator! Typically you’d need 30 minutes of direct sunlight to the entire body (not just bare arms and legs, but chest and back too) to get enough Vitamin D.
“What about the Vitamin D in my milk?” The amount in one 8 oz glass of fortified milk is 100 I.U. equal to about 45 SECONDS of sunlight. You’d have to drink 400oz or a little over 3 gallons of milk to get 5000 I.U.
Your best bet is to get a high quality Vitamin D supplement either an oil or in pill form. We recommend and carry Nordic Naturals Vitamin D3 pills ($15.95+tax and shipping). They are 1000 IU per pill. We also recommend Carlson’s liquid Vitamin D3 drops. Whole Foods carries it or you can get it online. The drop are tasteless, just drop them on your tongue and swallow.
Anecdotal evidence shows that taking high doses (15000 IU) when you start to feel ill can stop the bug in it’s tracks!
Try some and you’ll find you feel better, have more energy and reduce your chances of getting sick!
You’d get about 10,000 IU a day standing on the equator for 30 minutes at noon with no toxicity. The lowest level of vitamin D3 as a supplement known to have caused toxicity was 40,000 IU, 20 times greater the the “safe upper limit” [British Medical Journal 2003; 326:469]