Are You Craving Sunshine? Maybe You Need Vitamin D…
I live in Wales, in the west of the UK in the Northern Hemisphere. We are now coming towards the end of winter and my body is craving sunshine. This makes me think that my body is craving vitamin D. Vitamin D is made in our bodies when our skin is exposed to sunshine…. really simple explanation! Now, the problem comes when you need to expose your arms and face for fifteen minutes every day to get enough naturally from the sun. But this doesn’t happen at this time of the year in wet, cold Wales. A good rule of thumb is that if your shadow is shorter than you, then the sun is high enough in the sky for you to absorb the good stuff. This time of year, my shadow is towering over me. This is why I choose to supplement.
You can get two different kinds of vitamin D: D2 and D3. Until recently, you could only get D3 made from animal products, but now there’s a lichen-based D3 – which is how reindeer get their vitamin D. D3 is the superior form, as it is the closest to that from the sun, so our bodies are able to deal with it much faster. Vitamin D whizzes around the body and contributes to our mood, hormones, brain function, immune system, blood pressure, bones, blood sugar, and many other things.
I also want to give a shout out to one of my favourite foods… MUSHROOMS! They have the ability to absorb the sun in a similar way to our skin. When mushrooms are exposed to the sun, they have vitamin D inside them. In fact, some shops are now even selling mushrooms that have been vitamin D boosted with UV light! Maitake mushrooms are some of the best for this, but all mushrooms will do it to a certain level. So, allow your mushrooms to sunbathe and then consume their amazing vitamin D.
Due to skin cancer scares and sunscreen, vitamin D deficiency has become far more of a problem than too much vitamin D. However, I always recommend being tested so you can empower yourself with knowing your numbers and tracking your vitamin D levels throughout the year. I highly recommend getting your vitamin D levels checked at the end of the summer and the end of the winter. Here in the UK, I use Birmingham NHS hospital for my tests, as it only costs £29.
These test results are given in n/Mol and adequate is generally above 50, but who wants to just be adequate? Adequate means that you have just enough to prevent you from acquiring deficiency symptoms, but we want to have enough vitamin D in our bodies to feel the benefit from this amazing vitamin. I learnt this on my own health journey. Because I have been dealing with an autoimmune disease, I want to keep my immune system rocking and if vitamin D can help me get to the health party, then I aim to be optimised. This is why I try and keep my vitamin D levels in the optimised range of around 150, making sure it doesn’t get higher.
I supplement throughout the year, but usually raise my dosage in the winter to account for the lack of sun here in Wales. I always use a whole food supplement, as it is absorbed in the same way as food, resulting in the body being able to break it down and use it more easily.
If you want to check out the supplement I use myself, go to the link below.
Let me know in the comments below if you are craving sunshine and whether you’ve had a vitamin D test. In what way is vitamin D part of your life?