Fall back, spring forward. The best part of daylight savings time was getting an extra hour of sleep this past Sunday and it was equally nice to cycle to work in the morning with some sunlight instead of complete darkness as it was last week.
This time change thing got me thinking about the impending winter, and that got me thinking about Vitamin D. For a full overview on why you should be taking Vitamin D daily if you live above the 37th parallel, check out this prior post. If you don’t feel like a long read, I’ll sum it up by saying that if you live anywhere in the grey shaded area below, 1000 IU (international units) of Vitamin D daily does the body good.
Why? In the months between September and April, the sun is not at an angle to produce the correct wavelength of UV rays we need to create Vitamin D in our body. So, even though you might be in the sun during the winter months, the type of rays coming in are not Vitamin D production friendly.
Vit D is used in the gut to help absorb calcium and also works hard at maintaining adequate levels of phosphorus – both are needed for healthy teeth and bones. It actually functions like a hormone in our body, works in close conjunction with parathyroid hormone and is structurally is very close to both estrogen and cortisone. There is a strong correlation between colder climates and those with low levels of Vitamin D and the development of Multiple Sclerosis. Furthermore, there is a belief that low levels of Vitamin D slows down our immune response . Finally, Vitamin D is involved in muscle and heart support, the prevention of certain types of cancer (ovarian, prostate, colon, bladder, rectal), and mood/cognitive support in the older population.
How much do you need? If you’re an adult anywhere between 1000 – 4000 IU. Children under 1 need about 600 IU’s. Kids over a year can get by with 600-800 IU. It’s time. Get your Vitamin D on!
THE DAILY DL (Dalai Lama):
“What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.”
– John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley: In Search of America
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