Can't Get To The Beach This Weekend? Try This Replacement
Think back to this previous weekend. Did you spend some time hiking in nature? Did you go to the beach? Or have an al fresco meal with friends? All of these activities give us exposure to necessary UV light, which our body converts to essential vitamin D. Vitamin D is important for our health in disparate ways.
Vitamin D aids in calcium absorption from the gut. Many people - particularly women - take calcium supplements to aid in bone health but without adequate vitamin D, that calcium will never be available for its intended use. As a result, too much calcium can lead to gastrointestinal disturbances, increased risk of kidney stones, and increased risk of heart attack without helping mitigate the risk of osteoporosis or osteopenia.
Vitamin D is essential for a properly functioning immune system. Doctors accidentally discovered that vitamin D helped treat respiratory infections like tuberculosis when patients spent time in sunlight and consumed Cod liver oil, which is rich in vitamin D. Subsequent studies have shown that high levels of vitamin D can reduce infections caused by viruses and bacteria including influenza, HIV, and bacterial vaginosis.
Vitamin D is essential for a healthy brain. Vitamin D is a necessary ingredient for healthy brain cell growth and brain chemical production. Axons (a type of brain cell) lengthen in the presence of activated vitamin D3. In one study of cells from the hippocampus (a part of the brain associated with emotions and memory), vitamin D caused an increase in healthy cell growth.
Knowing that this vitamin is so crucial for our health, how can we ensure that we get enough of it?
- Spend 15-20 minutes daily in direct sunlight while wearing minimal clothing (think a bikini or just shorts).
- If sunbathing is not an option, try supplementing with vitamin D3 capsules. Vitamin D toxicity is possible if one takes too much via supplements but generally toxicity symptoms are unlikely when taking up to 250mg or 10,000 IU per day.
- If capsules are not your thing, try an oral liposomal spray.