Thursday, 23 December 2010

Vitamin D and Health in the Winter

In a previous post I mentioned that the naturopaths I've seen this year now have a newsletter. Here is another article from them. Their website is: Head to Heal

The Sunshine Vitamin – the Benefits of Vitamin D

Naturally, we get our Vitamin D from the sun. The only food sources with considerable amounts of Vitamin D are fatty fish and egg yolks. In Canada, some products have been fortified with Vitamin D, however, it’s impossible to get the levels of Vitamin D which have been proven to be protective from food alone. This is why it is especially important to supplement during our long prairie winters. In sunnier months, we need 20 minutes (four times a week on our face, chest, arms and back) to obtain enough Vitamin D.
The Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors (CAND), recommends 2000-4000 IU of Vitamin D every day. Breast-fed infants need to be supplemented with 400-1000 IU of Vitamin D every day. Those with darker skin might need to supplement with more Vitamin D, since darker skin is less able to make Vitamin D from the sun.
There are many studies that document vitamin D’s benefits including:
  • Reduction of risk of cancer, multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis and Type 2 diabetes
  • Adequate levels of vitamin D increase survival rates of women with breast cancer
  • Beneficial for preventing Seasonal Affective Disorder as vitamin D increases brain serotonin levels (the feel-good hormone)
  • Supports proper bone and skin health
  • Improves overall immune function - adequate levels of Vitamin D ensure that T cells (that develop in the thymus gland) properly recognize self antigens and react against non-self or dangerous antigens – Vitamin D boosts the immune system to fight infections
If you are curious about your Vitamin D level, ask you MD for a simple blood test. The 25-Hydroxy-Vitamin D Test is used to determine your status. If you are deficient, you should supplement throughout the winter months and, remember, Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin, and, as such, it is important to take with food. 

1 comment:

  1. The winter season is always tough for some people. The sun can't give them enough vitamin D because most of the time they stay inside their home. You should prepare the vitamin D that you'll need before winter.