{Green Living} Are You Vitamin D Deficient?

Photo: rainbreaw

Life has changed drastically in the past 20 years. People are spending less time outdoors as opposed to spending insane hours sitting indoors in front of the computer or TV. Today, many of us work indoors and use our cars to get from place to place, instead of walking. In addition to that, many people use sunscreen whenever they spend any time out in the sun. You might think there is nothing wrong with that but we were not made for sedentary life in the shade and our bodies are not prepared for living without Vitamin D, which is the only vitamin we can get even without food.

Finding enough time, in our hectic everyday, for deliberate slowing down, connecting with nature and exposing our skin to sunlight will not only work well on our mind and creativity but will also supply our organisms with vital Vitamin D.

As Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum, author of “Real Cause, Real Cures” claims, “Historically people spent most of the day outside, weren’t dipped in sunscreen and didn’t have sunglasses on. They got plenty of sunshine. That was the normal way to get Vitamin D.”

Studies show that Vitamin D goes beyond its well-known role in bone health and reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, and more. Despite the fact that we can get Vitamin D from sun exposure and from food, more than 60% of people are deficient.

How to get Vitamin D

The sun is the best source of vitamin D, it acts as a pro-hormone, which converts into vitamin D3 in your body. Vitamin D in your skin is generated by UV light, which is divided into three bands – UVA, UVB and UVC. UVB produces Vtamin D but it aslo is the main cause of sunburn caused by overexposure to sunlight.

A common misconception is that occasional exposure of your face and hands to sunlight is sufficient for vitamin D production. Actually, this exposure can provide only an insufficient amount of Vitamin D during the summer months.

Did you know that your body can produce a limited amount of vitamin D every day. A fair-skinned person might need to exposed as much of their body for no more than 20 minutes of sunlight a day, while dark-skinned people may need several times the amount for the same benefits. After that, you are only increasing your chances of getting sunburn, and sunburn has been clearly related to an increased risk of skin cancer.

People who live in northern latitudes might develop chronic Vitamin D deficiency unless they enjoy a diet including fatty fish or fish liver oils. It is a long-standing tradition in the Nordic countries (Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Iceland) to take a capsule or teaspoon of fish oil a day during the winter months which has proven beneficial to controlling release of insulin, controlling depression, developing stronger immune system, maintaining heart muscle function and regulating blood pressure.

The dangers of skin cancer from sun exposure

Chronic, excessive exposure to sunlight increases the risk of non-melanoma skin cancer. But there is very little evidence that sensible, moderate sun exposure increases your risk of the most deadly form of skin cancer, melanoma. In fact, there is good evidence to suggest that it may actually decrease your risk.

Remember that humans are designed to have regular sun exposure. As long as you avoid sunburn, sun exposure will help improve your health.

Did I miss anything? Do you know of another source of Vitamin D? Share with us in the comments.

This post was written by

Kanelstrand – who has written posts on Eco Etsy.
I am a proponent of simple living, a minimalist and an eco-friendly photographer with wild imagination. I write about green and simple living and share my Scandinavian travels and photographs on my blog, Kanelstrand, which has become the meeting point of a vibrant green community of eco-conscious artists and crafters from around the world.

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Comments

  1. Great article! I had been telling my husband that the sun is good more awhile now! There’s no wonder ancient people’s used to idolize the sun, it was good for them :)

  2. I’m lucky enough to live within walking distance of the beach. Don’t get too jealous, I’m on the NE Coast of England so it’s not exactly warm. ;) Since moving here I’ve noticed improved mood and energy levels on days that I go for a walk on the beach. Of course, exercise is part of it, but I still feel it even on days when I just go and sit outside.

    A little trick for my fellow members of the fair and pasty clan. My trick is to put sunscreen on just before leaving the house as it takes about 15 minutes to start working. That way I get the yummy Vitamin D without burning to a crisp.

    • kanelstrand says:

      Julia, same story here. The beach provokes more physical activity which, combined with good weather makes me stay outside even more, so it doesn’t really matter that it’s not as warm :) I think the weather in southern Norway is quite similar, in fact.

      Your trick is precious, thanks for sharing!

  3. Just yesterday my 7th graders and I discovered that humans really DO have a third eye, it’s called the pineal gland, and it is apparently a vestigial structure hanging on from some… I dunno… time when animals had three eyes? and is photo sensitive and responsible for the production of melanin and vitamin D and regulating circadian rhythms. Just goes to show… you learn something new every day. (-;

  4. I take about 4000 IU of D during the winter. And haha! Earnest Efforts….I know exactly what you mean about laughter in the Pacific Northwest!

    Great info, Sonya.

  5. Vitamin D is created by the body when it is exposed to sunlight at an angle of 45 degrees or more, therefore you can only get Vitamin D from sun exposure certain times of the year. The times of the year will depend on your latitude. Here is a link to my blog post with more info. http://aquarianbath.blogspot.com/2009/09/preparing-for-cold-and-flu-season-part.html

    • kanelstrand says:

      You are right, AquarianBath. For the seasons with less sunlight the best source for Vitamin D is fish and fish oil. Your post is great.

  6. Very important article! I take 5000 iu of Vitamin D daily and it is a tremendous help in the Pacific NW rainy season. Keeps the laughter coming.

    • kanelstrand says:

      Starting Autumn to late Spring we in Scandinavia take fish oil to make sure everything is in order :) Laughter is important, after all!

  7. My OBGYN ordered Vit D analysis in my labs. She determined I was deficient and put me on a 2000 IU a day. Right afterwards, I started noticing how many food products advertised on their label that they are rich on Vit D. I grabbed a bag of mushrooms and sure enough, mushrooms are a great source of Vit D. It seems everyone has jumped on the bandwagon, which is annoying. Next time I go to the doctor I will have my labs rechecked to see what six months of daily doses have done for me.

    • kanelstrand says:

      Why do you find it annoying? The more knowledge is spread, the better for humanity! Omega 3 and salmon are great sources of Vitamin D!

  8. fabulous post ..in sun drenched Texas Vit. D is in great supply. Did not know about the self regulation ..so cool!

    • kanelstrand says:

      Yes, it is a bit scare to realise how little we know of our bodies and yet they function with such precision!