Most of us are just emerging out of the depths of our ridonculously long east-coast winter. I still haven't switched out my cashmeres for tanks, just in case mother nature is just teasing. We New Yorkers have been hibernating ever since Sandy, six months ago. And while we've kept warm and nourished with lots of hearty stews, roasted root veggies and the third season of Downton Abbey, we've been starved of other things synonymous with sunshine, like bbqs and vitamin D.
I had a healthy dose of vitamin D a few weeks ago in the Dominican Republic and wow, it's amazing what a little sunshine can do to cast away the haze that tends to layer over us during the winter months. When the sky is clear, my mind follows. When the sun shines bright, my spirit soars. And I'd put a hefty wager down that you find the same.
Vitamin D is so vital to our vibrant health. As an immune system regulator, it aids in the prevention of osteoporosis, many types of cancer, diabetes and obesity.
With summer now (thankfully) on its way, we're sure to get a big bump in our vitamin D intake. But most of us—especially those in the northern hemisphere—don't get nearly enough vitamin D from natural sunlight. And when we are shaking and baking in the sun, the sunscreen we've thoughtfully lathered on to protect our skin also works to repel the full absorption of vitamin D.
Beyond the rays
If you've heard that milk is a natural carrier of vitamin D, your sources are wrong. Vitamin D was added to milk in the early 20th Century and the 125 units found in your average glass of milk—dairy debate aside, here—are far below the needs of a nourished person, which range from 1000 to 10,000 units a day, depending on your d/efficiency levels.
So bar baking in the sun all day without sunscreen (not recommended) and drinking 25 glasses of milk per day (not recommended), how can we increase our vitamin D? There are some ways to double up on vitamin D through your diet by adding fatty fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel, herring and sardines to your menu. Other foods that give you a hit of the good stuff are eggs, fortified milk, select yogurt brands and cheese products.
That said, it's very likely that you still need to up the ante with high quality multivitamin supplements. That's my cue to love you and leave you to consult with your primary care physician on the dosage that's right for you, but check out what Dr. Ash has to say, below.
Signing off for now from my sunny, vitamin D-filled rooftop in Chelsea. You can't beat the real thing.
Dr Ash Says
Vitamin D is actually not a vitamin at all, but a steroid hormone that plays an important role in regulating calcium absorption (and therefore bone development), and the immune system, among many other physiological processes in the human body. Deficiency has been shown to be associated with increased risk of depression, cardiovascular disease and death, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, lupus, and cognitive decline, and research evaluating treatment with Vitamin D shows promising results. When choosing a Vitamin D supplement, it should be in the form of D3 (cholecalciferol) and emulsified for optimal absorption (look for key word ‘mulsion’). Since Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, it should be taken with a fat source such as olive oil or your daily fish oil.
-Ashley Weber, Naturopathic Doctor
Like what you see? Click here to receive regular updates from The Samana Project. We'll also send you our Samana High-Five: Five easy ways to start being healthier TODAY.
- Adored Not Ignored
- Blueberry Pie
- Cashew Milk
- Chia seeds
- Cook once eat twice
- Costa Rica
- Craniosacral Therapy
- Dr. Ash
- Julie Mae Weber
- Let Go
- Main course
- Vitamin D