In the positive spirit of Day Light Savings, we wanted to talk about the sunshine vitamin, Vitamin D. Studies show that 75% of us are deficient in this key nutrient.
According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, as many as 90% of Americans with dark skin pigments could suffer from vitamin D deficiency. Those of us with white skin, the research suggests 75% have the insufficient levels of Vitamin D.
While on my sunny vacation in Australia, I realized that I had been spending too much time indoors and not enough time outside in the air and the light. I have since swapped my 6 day a week Yoga sessions to 4 and now take a walk out in nature and sunlight the other 2 days. Ahh.. Much better!
“The symptoms of vitamin D deficiency are quite subtle and non-specific,” explains Kris Gunnars, BSc, CEO, and founder of Authority Nutrition, which is why many people aren’t aware they have an issue. Heath issues such as fatigue, poor immunity, muscle pain, lower back pain, and mood fluctuations should act as a sign that you could have low levels of Vitamin D.
While severe deficiency isn’t common, Joel Fuhrman, MD, says the health consequences extend well beyond fatigue. “It’s not only important for bones. Low levels are thought to contribute to many common diseases, such as depression, diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and autoimmune conditions.”
Concerned you might be deficient? Here’s how to improve your health in next to no time.
STEP ONE: GET OUTSIDE
If you suspect you might be vitamin D–deficient, the first thing you should do is prioritize time outdoors. That doesn’t mean tanning, though, says Josh Axe, DNM, DC, CNS. “It’s believed that up to 90 to 95% of most people’s vitamin D comes from casual sunlight exposure,” he points out.
So how much time in the sun do you actually need? The average recommended daily dose for adults is 600 IU (15 micrograms), or 10 to 15 minutes of uncovered sun exposure, but Fuhrman says it differs for everyone. “It depends on a number of factors including age, skin tone, time of day, and geographical location.
STEP TWO: CHECK LEVELS
Schedule an appointment with your health care practitioner and request a blood test. Two potential indicators of deficiency are frequent infections and tiredness, but the only reliable way to see if you’re deficient is to get your doctor to do a blood test.
STEP THREE: DIET
Take a closer look at your diet. While it is very hard to get adequate vitamin D from food alone, increasing your intake of certain foods can still be beneficial. The best foods are fatty fish, cod liver oil, and egg yolks, Dr Axe recommends halibut, carp fish, mackerel, and eel, which have the highest levels of vitamin D.
THE TAKE HOME:
1. Get outside and into the light for 15 minutes everyday.
2. Get checked and if you’re D levels are low, supplement with a high quality supplement ( we know where you can get those)
3. Eat well.
Enjoy the extra day light and get outside