In nearly every appointment with a patient I mention Vitamin D Supplementation. This current year, Vitamin D has become a star player for our immune systems, our mental health, and our overall well-being.
We have been so conditioned to believe that sun exposure is bad for us…and at some point, too much sun can be bad for you…but, the truth is, the sun is vital to our minds, bodies, and spirits. When darn near everything on this planet requires sun for life, we have to consider that this includes us humans as well.
And, while we also need to look after our skin and keep it free from cancer, we most definitely need to take a look at what the motivating factors are for the beauty and medical industry to keep us out of the sun and load our carts with sunscreen products…(that might be for another day)
So what’s the deal with vitamin D?
*Vitamin D is different from other vitamins in that it influences your entire body — receptors that respond to the vitamin have been found in almost every type of human cell, from your brain to your bones. This is why researchers are finding health benefits from vitamin D in virtually every area they look.
For example, optimizing your vitamin D levels can help you to prevent as many as 16 different types of cancer including pancreatic, lung, breast, ovarian, prostate, and colon cancers. And vitamin D does not have just a slight impact on your cancer risk. It can cut your risk by as much as 60 percent!*
However, it’s not like turning a light switch. It’s not a matter of having vitamin D or not – it’s all a question of dose.
We should be getting at least 4,000IU’s of D3 a day to keep our levels up. This can come from the foods you eat, the supplements you take and the exposure to sun.
Let’s explore that more…
**The most important natural way to protect yourself from UV rays is to increase your intake of phytonutrients, also known as phytochemicals. The term “phytonutrients” means plant nutrients. Plants contain hundreds of nutrients beyond vitamins and minerals. These constituents protect plants from disease, injuries, insects, poisons, pollutants, drought, excessive heat, and ultraviolet rays. They form the plant’s immune system. Phytochemicals are a natural bioactive compound found in plant foods that work with nutrients and fiber to protect our bodies against disease.
Most phytonutrients occur as pigments. Colorful fruits and vegetables are thus rich in phytonutrients. One of the major classes of phytonutrients are antioxidants. Besides vitamins and minerals, antioxidants include polyphenols, carotenoids and flavonoids. There is growing scientific consensus that these compounds play a crucial role in the prevention of chronic, degenerative disease, including many cancers. Phytonutrients can also lower cholesterol, reduce blood pressure, detoxify blood, relieve allergies, and prevent pre-mature aging.
Eating a plant-based diet, high in fruits and vegetables will assure that you get plenty of phytonutrients. Cooking and especially processing does damage these nutrients significantly, so consuming them fresh, as nature intended is best (Wolfe, 2011)
Taking a daily supplement of D3 is a great step in increasing your D levels. Ideally you would want to take between 2,000 and 5,000 IU’s (depending on your current levels and sun exposure). This should be part of a conversation that you have with your provider on your next well check (you are doing those, right?). Unfortunately, unless you have a previous diagnosis for low vitamin D levels, insurance is no longer paying for the blood work of Vitamin D to be drawn. As shameful as that is (in my humble opinion), I still feel it is important to keep a finger on what your levels are. This level alone can tell you so much about your health now and in the future.
The vitamin D supplement that is available to us is a fat soluble supplement (and largely comes from lamb’s wool). When your skin is engaging with the suns rays, then we are creating a water based vitamin D that creates cholesterol sulfate and anti microbial peptides in the body which is to key to our bone, muscle, cell, skin health (Artemis, 2020). This can only come from the sun engaging with the skin. There are ways to determine if you are getting enough sun exposure for your age and location and the easiest most modern way to do that is to track your exposure with an app.
Yes, there is actually an app that helps you track your Vitamin D exposure and I’m here for it. The app I use is called Dminder. This app sends you an alert when the vitamin D levels are at their highest. It then sets a timer for the amount of time you are exposed and keeps a record of it. For example, I am currently tracking 2,000 IUs from my daily supplement and have spent 18 min in the sun and am tracking 1,847 IUs from the sun. I was surprised to see how quickly you receive vitamin D from the sun and it actually motivates me to step outside during the day. And, if you don’t have the app, listen to your intuition about how much sun you need.
A holistic view of Vitamin D
Reducing cancer risk and improving the immune system, bone and brain health, are just a few of the benefits that Vitamin D has on our bodies. Low levels have been linked to heart disease, diabetes, pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, adverse pregnancy outcomes (John’s Hopkins, 2020). And, as simple as taking a supplement is or taking a 30 min walk in the sun, it sure seems like we can reduce many of these conditions with just a little vitamin D.
Increasing vitamin D levels also has an effect on our muscle tone. Sounds a little far out there but you can actually gain muscle tone by letting your skin soak up the sun (Artemis, 2020). I guess that’s why muscle beach is an outside gym…?
The ancient Toaists had a practice they called sunning. You may have heard it referred to as Yoni Sunning. Yoni is the sanksrit word for “the source of life” referring to the Woman’s vagina. Sunning is when you allow the sunlight to shine on the yoni for a period of time. Think of sun bathing for your lady bits ;P. And while it’s not necessarily the norm in our Western world, this is widely practiced all around the world. Yoni sunning is beneficial for boosting the immune system, killing bacteria, toning muscles and alleviating yeast (Mahina, 2019).
Vitamin D deficiency seems to be associated with depression (Krishnan, 2020). Depending on where in the world you live, what the sun exposure is at that location, and the season, can influence whether you have depression or not. I mean, we did grow up with the saying , “look on the sunny side”or “look on the bright side” for when there is an occurrence that can bring feelings of sadness. The sun matters and when you can’t get in the sun, a good diet and some supplementation can help!
Many (if not all) ancient cultures worshipped the sun. There were many sun Gods and Goddesses that were (are) highly admired. There are even groups of people now who worship the sun. They are said to draw strength and nutrients from the sun’s rays (a lot like photosynthesis) and do so by directly gazing at the sun. I think my parents telling us not to look in the sun or we’ll go blind stops me from trying this one LOL. The point is, the power that the sun has on nearly all living beings is worth not looking past.
Okay, so now what?
All of this to say” Vitamin D is an important part of a good, strong functioning body, mind and spirit. Eat you nutrient dense foods that come from the earth, get outside and enjoy a little photosynthesis sash, and clear your mind and ease your soul with a little sunshine therapy :). And, while we are in the midst of a global pandemic and flu season, I can’t stress this enough! Get some vitamin D please and thank you:)
For a recommendation of my favorite Vitamin D Supplement, email me at nikkiglomail.com
In good health,
Artemis, N. (Writer). (2020, October 15). The Natural Path: Beauty, Oral Care + Yoni Health with Nadine Artemis[Television broadcast]. In This is 30.
Grace, A. (2020, October 17). Homepage. Retrieved November 19, 2020, from https://www.mahinacup.com/
Krishnan, R. (2020). Unipolar depression in adults: Epidemiology, pathogenesis, and neurobiology. Retrieved November 19, 2020, from https://www.uptodate.com/contents/unipolar-depression-in-adults-epidemiology-pathogenesis-and-neurobiology?search=vitamin+d+deficiency+and+depression
Michos, E. (2020). How Does Vitamin D Affect Women’s Health? Retrieved November 19, 2020, from https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/how-does-vitamin-d-affect-womens-health
*This is an excerpt from a book that I have misplaced and cannot find for the life of me but I want to give the author credit so I’ll keep looking
**This is from the author Wolfe, as cited, however the article name is unknown.