Could you be one of the overwhelming numbers of Americans who are deficient in vitamin D? In fact, other than having heard that exposure to the sun’s rays may boost your levels of this “sunshine vitamin,” you might not have given much attention to this vitamin. Typically, the winter months result in changes to our diet, not to mention less time spent outside soaking up the sunshine.
Why Should You Even Care About Your Vitamin D Levels?
For starters, let’s keep in mind that there are two types of vitamin D that you need to keep in mind:
- Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) is synthesized by plants and is typically found in mushrooms, fortified foods, and vegan dietary supplements. This form is not produced in people and breaks down into metabolites foreign to the human body.
- Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is the form naturally found in people and animals, formed by exposure of the skin to sunshine containing sufficient intensity of UV-B rays.
You might not know that vitamin D is essential for the proper functioning of the heart, lungs, brain, and muscles or that a vitamin D deficiency might result in growth delays in children, muscle weakness, bone loss, and fractures. What’s more, vitamin D deficiency has been linked to high blood pressure, several cancers, type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and even thyroid problems.
Some People Need More Vitamin D
Certain groups of people need more dietary vitamin D than others, including:
- Older people typically spend more time indoors and, thanks to the aging process, have thinner skin and make less vitamin D when their skin is exposed to sunshine.
- People with darker skin have more melanin, which reduces the body’s ability to make vitamin D3 when exposed to sunshine.
- Those who live farther from the equator are exposed to less UV-B intense sunlight all year round.
- People with certain medical conditions that reduce fat absorption are prone to vitamin D deficiencies.
All of these potential health challenges make it important for all of us to take steps to boost our levels of this essential vitamin, which is really more of a hormone than a vitamin..
3 Simple, Expert-Approved Ways to Boost Your Vitamin D Intake
While your doctor can carry out a simple blood test to determine your levels of vitamin D, this winter you can make a start at boosting your levels by following some simple advice.
- Enjoy the Sunshine in the Tropics
During the winter there isn’t any UV-B rays in the sunshine we get north of Florida, so it isn’t possible to get vitamin D from sunlight during the winter in most of the USA. So, take a vacation in the tropics and soak up the sunshine while you are there. Sunshine is your best source of vitamin D as it is the way God made us to get our vitamin D. In fact, if you can get outdoors around midday in the tropics when the sun is at its highest point in the sky, that’s when its UVB rays are the most intense. Because of this, you will need less time in the sun to get a healthy dose of vitamin D.
- Take a Supplement
In addition to making conscious changes to your diet and the time you spend outside, you could also consider taking a Hallelujah Diet® Vitamin D3 / K2 supplement. This will give you a vitamin D3 boost, especially if you feel you might be deficient or if a blood test has shown that you are. Vitamin K2 helps direct the extra calcium absorbed by the higher amount of vitamin D to go to the right places, like bones, and not in the wrong tissues like cartilage and blood vessel walls. It is recommended to take vitamin K2 whenever taking large doses of vitamin D3.
- Invest in a Vitamin D Lamp
Sperti has created a vitamin D lamp that has been clinically proven to improve vitamin D levels in people. Just 5 minutes a day, using the built-in timer, will keep your vitamin D levels up just like in the summer time. The Sperti lamp has cleared by the FDA as a safe source of vitamin D. Because of the built-in timer, this lamp is convenient, safe and easy to incorporate into your day.
The Bottom Line
Winter is the season where you can easily get sidetracked into “hunkering down” indoors and out of the cold and becoming complacent about your diet. It takes a conscious and yet exciting effort to increase your sun exposure and to seek out vitamin D supplements that have big benefits for your health.