Portable Sunshine: Vitamin D

Ever notice that you just feel crappier in the winter?  Tired, depressed, weak?  Sick much more often?  Well winter’s coming, and it’s time to fight back.

Vitamin D – Summer in Chemical Form?

The Sun

Vitamin D is synthesized in your skin with the help of sunlight.  In fact, 20 minutes in the sun produces 200 times what the government says you need each day.  (Of course, the government doesn’t know anything about how much Vitamin D you need).  Amazingly, vitamin D produced by the sun is also deactivated when your levels are adequate; you cannot produce “too much” Vitamin D from sunlight.

In the summer, most of us spend more time in the sun, and vitamin D levels rise.  In the winter, when we aren’t getting much sun, Vitamin D levels fall.  In today’s sun-fearing, sunscreen slathering culture, many people remain Vitamin D deficient all year round (especially people with darker skin and those living in more northern regions).

Vitamin D – What Is It Good For?

Pretty much everything.  Seriously.  Almost.  Hold on to your face, because adequate levels of Vitamin D have been shown to:

  • Improve immunity (read: fewer colds and flu)
  • Improve sports performance
  • Improve blood pressure
  • Predict weight loss success
  • Decrease risk of some cancers
  • Improve cognitive function
  • Decreased cognitive decline with aging
  • Improve mood

Can you say “Super Vitamin”?

Jamie Eason Sunset

Vit D not guaranteed to make you look like Jamie

Vitamin D Toxicity – Should I Worry?

Not really, unless you’re taking obscene amounts (over 6-8000 IU per day).  I recommend Dr. Jonny Bowden’s Vitamin D Toxicity: What You Need To Know for the full scoop.  You can always get your levels checked.  I’d be looking for about 70-80 ng/ml as a target.  I take 6000 IU a day, and I had 80 ng/ml last time I got it checked (my doctor was shocked).

Want To Feel And Perform Better This Winter?

Take some Vitamin D.  Preferably 2000-6000 IU daily.  It’s kinda like summer in a bottle!  Minus the warm and the scantily clad people on beaches.  Still, it’s really good.