How to Replace Vitamin D in the Winter
Brush off your snowboard, wax up your skis – the darker days are drawing in and it’s time to start waking up feeling like every joint in your body as stiff as a board! But are your stiff joints due to large amounts of suicidal winter pastimes or the symptom of a lack of vitamin D?
Vitamin D is not produced by our bodies, but is vital to the health of the calcium in your bones and teeth and help reduces inflammation. It reduces the risk for of chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, and probably cancers such as breast cancer, colon cancer, and ovarian cancer. In fact, cancer researchers encourage people to increase their vitamin D intake as in controlled tests it suggested that it helped keep cells from becoming malignant — and when cells did go bad, it encouraged them to self-destruct. Whichever way you look at it, vitamin D is a ‘must have’ vitamin to keep you healthy.
What happens if you do not get sufficient vitamin D?
Winter is a time when many people suffer from a lack of vitamin D and may not be aware of it. Here are five common symptoms of a D deficiency:
Joint pain: Especially when waking up in the morning – every morning. It also may take a few minutes of motion for your joints to get in the ‘swing of things’ and be truly up and running.
Hot head: You may be familiar with the term ‘hot head’, but that isn’t what we’re talking about. A physical head that is hot, rather than someone with a short temper, is a symptom that the medical profession is trained to look for when suspecting a vitamin D deficiency.
Feeling blue: Vitamin D regulates the production of serotonin, the body’s natural happy hormone creating a feel good factor. If feel down on a regular basis, then you may lack vitamin D.
Being over 50: Much of our vitamin D is made in our skin and as we get older our skin loses its ability to work efficiently. If you are in the older age category you will have trouble producing enough vitamin D to keep up with the demand your body puts it through. Couple this with the fact that the kidneys become less efficient at processing vitamin D as we age increasing the likelihood that the more mature you are, the more you are at risk of being vitamin D deficient.
Weight: Vitamin D dissolves in fat so the more fat you have, the more the vitamin is diluted.
Due to all these factors it is easy to develop a deficiency in vitamin D so it is quite common across all sectors of the population, but is also one of the very easiest to remedy in a natural way.
Where do you get organic vitamin D from?
One of the best things about vitamin D is that is so easy to ‘top up’ your daily count in a multitude of natural ways. If want the easiest method to release that serotonin and ease the joint pain – go for a walk in the country! When the skin is exposed to sunshine, the skin immediately starts to turn it into ‘the sunshine vitamin’, or vitamin D. If you are all bundled up and only your face is showing then it may take a little longer than if you are walking around in shorts and a t-shirt, but in the summer 30 minutes a day is all it takes. Translate that into winter time with a weaker sun and more clothes, an hour or so a day should also keep your vitamin D at acceptable levels.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that relocating yourself in the desk next to the window at work is going to increase your intake of the sunshine vitamin, it won’t. The key is to be outdoors in the sunshine. Window glass absorbs ultraviolet B radiation, exposure of sunlight through glass windows will result in little or no production of vitamin D in the skin. But let’s face it, what could be better than an afternoon in the sunshine walking through the woods? It’ll do your heart good, your happy hormones good and keep your joints nice and supple. It’s an organic win/win scenario all round.
If you increase you intake of natural fish liver oil, shitake mushrooms and fatty fish such as salmon, herring and mackerel which are all rich in organic vitamin D they will contribute to keeping your body at an acceptable level. Egg yolks are also high in vitamin D but make sure that they are organic, raised healthily and as fresh as possible. Many foods are fortified with vitamin D, like orange juice, milk and breakfast cereal, but these are not natural sources. They are supplements added in production. If you choose this option, and let’s face it, what can be easier than getting your recommended daily allowance of vitamin D in one meal of fortified milk, cereal and a glass of juice every morning, be sure that it is certified organic and produced as locally as possible.
Drinking tea and coffee have also been documented to increase vitamin D so drinking a healthy amount is beneficial, but as with all things, if you have copious of cream, whole milk or sugar in it, the health benefits are cancelled out with other problems.
Keeping your vitamin D at optimum levels is a great way to keep your body healthy. It will happen naturally is you eat healthily, exercise outdoors regularly and watch what you drink. You have to increase your intake of vitamin D in the winter as the sun is weaker and the days shorter but also because your body does not produce it. Bear in mind each day that you need to top yourself up with the ‘sunshine vitamin’ and you will – and with it, you’ll reap many other benefits too.
Dr Ray Sahalien MD
MEDIndia Net: Increased Coffee and Tea Consumption Elevates Vitamin D Levels