Vitamin D is an amazing super nutrient whose health benefits are often understated. Beyond its proven role in bone health, it also reduces the risk of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and many autoimmune diseases. It improves cognitive function and boosts immunity.
Vitamin D is a nutrition powerhouse!
Our body is capable of synthesising Vitamin D from the Sun and through specific foods. And although Australia has an abundance of sunlight, an estimated one in every four Australian adults (about 23%) remain deficient. And more women are deficient as compared to men.
Why is this you ask?
Well, eating foods rich in Vitamin D is not our focus or priority. And Sun exposure is a concern and risk rather than a real option.
Beyond this, there are several factors that affect your body’s ability to generate Vitamin D from sunlight. For example, region, time of day, season and month, altitude, level of air pollution or cloud cover, the part of the body that has been exposed, the colour of the skin, and age.
Certain medical conditions and certain medications and drugs (such as those that increase the breakdown of Vitamin D) have also been known to affect Vitamin D metabolism.
Considering all these factors, do you think you are getting enough Vitamin D for yourself? How can you tell? More importantly, how can you ensure that you’re getting the required dosage?
Here’s what I recommend:
1. Be particular about how much sun you get
The UV radiation that is a component of sunlight is a fantastic source of Vitamin D, but too much exposure can increase your chances of contracting skin cancer. This is a certain concern for us Australians – with our thin ozone layer and little pollution, even the smallest bit of exposure can do considerable damage.
2. Use a combination of sun protection measures
The summer months can be brutal. During these months (between September and April in Australia) use a combination of methods to avoid getting sunburnt – sunnies, wide-brimmed hats, sunscreen, clothing and cover, overalls, etc. Remember over-exposure can damage your skin and even lead to cancer.
3. Exercise daily/regularly
Exercising regularly can help your body generate Vitamin D. Indoor exercises such as aerobics, swimming and indoor sports can be equally effective as other outdoor sports. Consider this on a hot day when the sun is too harsh and go for an indoor option instead.
4. Pay attention to foods rich in Vitamin D
Consume foods that are rich in Vitamin D. For vegetarians and vegans some of the options are – orange juice, cereals, soymilk, mushrooms, and yogurt. There are more options available to non-vegetarians who can consume fatty fish like salmon and tuna as well as eggs. A number of fortified and Vitamin D enriched food options are also available in the market these days that may be worth considering.
5. Talk to a Health Coach. I am here for you.
There are countless symptoms of a Vitamin D deficiency that you may be experiencing, such as – lethargy, lack of energy, fatigue, lack of interest or enthusiasm, moodiness, brittle bones, pains and aches, sleeplessness etc. It is best to talk about your concerns with a trusted Health Coach who can recommend tests, advice a meal plan and guide you on your way to better health.
Depending on the severity of your condition, a Health Coach may also recommend Vitamin D supplements. These have proven to be incredibly helpful for some people, but dosages are strict and talking to a specialist is advised.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms or feel you need to discuss your state of health with someone who understands, talk to me today. I am here for you every step of the way!