by Lauren Rae, TRYM Fitness Coach and Sunwarrior Contributing Writer.
Memories of time spent in the summer sun are fading and our days are get shorter. As winter approaches you could begin to experience symptoms such as sleeping too much, having low energy, or possibly even feeling depressed. This phenomenon could be related to Hypovitaminosis D. More simply, a vitamin D deficiency resulting from an inadequate nutritional intake and inadequate exposure to UV rays from sunlight. Could a lack of vitamin D be the answer to your woes? Relief from the blues could be as close as the outdoors or your nearest pharmacy.
This “Sunshine Vitamin” is a is a steroid hormone precursor and is responsible for the absorption of Vitamin C while playing an important role in transporting nutrients to the brain and maintaining proper functioning of the human body. Research has also more recently linked low vitamin D with weight gain and obesity as well as diabetes, cancer, and other debilitating diseases. The CDC reported one fourth of the population was deficient in vitamin D in 2006 with 8 percent of those considered at imminent risk. With numbers like that, it’s easy to understand why Natural News is calling vitamin D, "perhaps the single most underrated nutrient in the world of nutrition."
The problem is the general public just doesn’t know enough about this very important nutrient to make a correlation between their symptoms and possible Hypovitaminosis D. Furthermore, many people are unaware of the link between vitamin D deficiency and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), more commonly referred to as “seasonal depression.” Good news is the effects of the occasional blues associated with the changing of seasons eventually clear up. The even better news is with sufficient vitamin D levels and exposure to natural sunlight the moods of those who suffer from both SAD and clinical depression can be improved as well.
How to understand and manage your vitamin D intake so you don’t get SAD:
1. Get your blood tested
A normal 25-hydroxyvitamin D blood test will register above 30 nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) while anything below 35 should be addressed. Your healthcare professional can assess your levels and prescribe the correct dosage to get your vitamin D levels to a healthy range.
2. Allow your skin a healthy amount of exposure to natural sunlight
Because your body creates vitamin D when your skin comes into contact with UV rays, even the lowest level of SPF sunscreen will block your natural ability to produce. While the further you live away from the equator the more exposure you need, 15 minutes a day of direct sunlight usually does the trick. It is also important to know that the darker your skin, the more exposure you will require.
Recovery from vitamin D deficiency does not occur overnight. A regular treatment can last as long as 6 months to rebuild the body's bones and nervous system with proper supplementation and exposure to sunlight. However, studies have shown those suffering from moodiness and depression to experience a relatively fast improvement in their symptoms with regular vitamin D exposure.