Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me

This weekend is daylight savings. With daylight savings time comes the reality of winter.  The number of warm days have been shrinking away, so it is important to remember to get enough vitamin D.  But you wanna know a secret?  Living in the bay area, people are already likely to be vitamin D deficient.  It is not because we are rarely outdoors, working inside all day.  Nor is it that when we are outside, we wear sunblock which prohibits our own vit D production from UVB exposure in the sun... 

 "Except during the summer months, the skin makes little if any vitamin D from the sun at latitudes above 37 degrees north (in the United States, the shaded region in the map) or below 37 degrees south of the equator. People who live in these areas are at relatively greater risk for vitamin D deficiency."

"Except during the summer months, the skin makes little if any vitamin D from the sun at latitudes above 37 degrees north (in the United States, the shaded region in the map) or below 37 degrees south of the equator. People who live in these areas are at relatively greater risk for vitamin D deficiency."

Here is how it works - when UVB rays hit your skin,  Vitamin D3 is produced then transported to the liver where it is converted to Vitamin D – the hormone you need.  "Now, under the right circumstances, 10 to 15 minutes of sun on the arms and legs a few times a week can generate nearly all the vitamin D we need. Unfortunately, the β€œright circumstances” are elusive: the season, the time of day, where you live, cloud cover, and even pollution affect the amount of UVB that reaches your skin."  Quoted from Harvard Health Publications.  And at our latitude, these circumstances are not optimally aligned.  We try to supplement it in our diets, but the D we get from food (mainly fish and fortified dairy) is very limited.

Why should you care?  Let me tell you.  Much like fish oil, researchers are studying vitamin D as a supporter to your body's fight against many modern day concerns such as bone health, inflammation, digestive health, autoimmune conditions and obesity.   Some research is also looking into aiding you in your quality of sleep - all of this, in my book, makes checking your vitamin D worth a look.

So especially for the winter months, and for those of you who spend much of your waking hours in an office working, supplementing your D is a good idea.  The recommended intake of D is from 600 to 4,000 IU a day.  Because vitamin D is stored in your liver, you don't have to take it every day - so supplementation can be pretty inexpensive.  Just like with any supplement, it is always a good idea to get blood work to see if supplementation is right for you.  But in the meantime, while you are deciding whether or not you want to look into adding a little extra D in your life - check out the short clip below.