When the sun comes out in the Pacific Northwest, everyone goes a little bonkers! It’s no surprise because we do have a lot of cloud cover that blocks out valuable sunlight. Sunlight and vitamin D are essential for humans to survive. Our bodies naturally create vitamin D when exposed to sunlight which is why vitamin D is not technically a vitamin but is actually a hormone. However, because it so necessary we all continue to label it as a vitamin.
Some of the important functions this essential hormone helps humans with are regulating the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, reducing inflammation and boosting our immune systems. It can also help reduce depression and aid with weight loss.
Studies have shown than many of us who live in this area of the country are vitamin D deficient. This is why it can be so important to supplement are bodies production of vitamin D with food containing it and vitamin supplements.
Interestingly, it’s absent from almost all natural foods except fish, mushrooms and egg yolks, and even when it’s obtained from foods, it still must be transformed by the body in our livers before it can do any good. So when it’s often cloudy, and you can’t get enough natural sunlight, endeavor to eat foods that contain vitamin D such as salmon, sardines, tuna, eggs, shrimp, mushrooms, cod liver oil, or foods that have been fortified with vitamin D such as milk, cereal, yogurt and orange juice.
If you believe you are deficient in vitamin D, contact your health professional as there are blood tests to check vitamin levels in your body. They may suggest taking is as a pill or liquid supplement to boost your intake and to improve your health.
If you choose to take a supplement keep in mind vitamin D is fat-soluble, meaning that it does not dissolve in water and it is absorbed into your bloodstream when it is paired with high-fat foods. For this reason, it’s recommended to take vitamin D supplements with a meal to enhance absorption. There are also studies that indicate that is is best to take it in the mornings because taking at night could interfere with melatonin production and affect the quality of your sleep.
In the meantime, during our sunny days take advantage of going outside and enjoying your natural does of vitamin D! Your body will thank you.
Tracey Bartel – Agent & Sun Worshipper