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What's Up with Vitamin D?

October 22, 2008

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A number of studies have recently come out touting the benefits of vitamin D and how many Americans are malnourished in this nutrient. This deficiency is linked to lethargy, osteoporosis, Type 2 diabetes, certain cancers and a variety of autoimmune diseases. One of the best sources of vitamin D is the sun, but many of us have been trained to stay out of the sun. It’s confusing.

Now that it’s colder outside and getting darker earlier, it’s harder to soak up sun during the day. The rays are also not as strong as they are in the summer, so you would need to stay outside for longer. An alternative to basking in the sun is to eat foods that have this valuable nutrient, like fish and eggs. If you are a vegan you will not be able to get this nutrient from food, so you may want to consider taking a vitamin D supplement and getting more sun exposure.

People not only suffer from vitamin D deficiency in the fall, but also Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) which causes people to feel depressed from the lack of sunlight. Taking this into consideration, it is important to find that balance during these colder months. To boost your emotional and physical health, step outside during the day and go for a brisk walk. Every bit of sunlight helps. Also, be sure to include more fresh fish or eggs in your diet. Since it is hard to get enough vitamin D from food and sunlight, especially during the colder months, you may want to consider taking a vitamin D supplement.

About the author

Joshua Rosenthal is the Founder and Director of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. He has worked in the nutrition field for more than 25 years, teaching at the school alongside health leaders including Andrew Weil, Deepak Chopra and Barry Sears. At Integrative Nutrition students are trained as Health Coaches, receiving the holistic nutrition education necessary for them go out into the world and help others improve their health and happiness.