Mr. Golden Sun, where are you?
Yesterday was the first full day of sun that Calgary has had in over a week. A week doesn’t sound long but trust me, it is.
Apparently in order to stimulate the production of vitamin D (yes, your body actually produces it) you need around 5-30 minutes of sun exposure two times per week. As most Canadians and North Americans will know, UVB rays become significantly less intense during the winter months and thus, we must compensate by spending a little more time in the sun.
The sad news for Calgarians and all Canadians who live north of the 42-degree latitude – producing enough vitamin D from November through to February is a major challenge. Supplementing through oral pill or dietary changes is recommended to ensure you’re getting enough.
Not getting enough vitamin D can have some serious health consequences. In children, a deficiency can lead to bone deformities known as rickets. Adults may experience secondary hyperthyroidism which can lead to the breakdown of bone and development of osteoporosis Furthermore, deficient levels of vitamin D has been associated with diabetes type I, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, hypertension, cardiovascular heart disease, and many common deadly cancers.
Low levels of vitamin D has also been associated with a variety of psychological conditions including Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). During winter months, people diagnosed with SAD, experience similar symptoms to individuals diagnosed with Depression, but to a somewhat lesser degree. Simply increasing one’s level of vitamin D may not lead to dramatic changes in mood, but it will likely help to some degree.
Yes, it’s serious. And the topic of low vitamin D has definitely picked up some international steam.
Due to my weariness and thus refrain from taking oral supplements (apart from my regular injection of B12) I took full advantage of the sun’s rays yesterday. My partner and I enjoyed the sun during our walk and our post-walk hot chocolate on our balcony. He too, has been feeling the effects of low sun levels. Needless to say, we were both happy to be outside, enjoy some outdoor activity and boost our vitamin D levels. My body and mind definitely definitely appreciated it.
This winter, be sure to get out and enjoy the sun when you can and if necessary, talk to your doctor about vitamin D oral supplements. Your body and brain will thank you.