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Vitamin D Benefits

Vitamin D is a very important vitamin that is often overlooked. Our bodies produce the vitamin when we expose ourselves to the sun. But, these days, many consider sunlight to be dangerous. Even the media often portrays sunlight as harmful and one of the reasons for the occurrence of skin cancers and other conditions. So many college students and people in general, avoid going into the sun or cover themselves with expensive sun blocks to shield their skins from the light. As a result, many students are deficient in vitamin D.

Why is vitamin D so important to the body?

Several studies have already established a link between the vitamin and reduced risk of cancer, hormone balance and stronger bones. Recently, new studies are concluding that vitamin D can possibly slow aging. This is exciting because many college going students start using expensive anti-aging creams at such young age to prevent aging. Many of these commercial creams can contain harmful chemicals and toxins that can damage the skin and cause sensitivity and irritations etc. Instead of using expensive creams and wasting money, you can simply spend a few minutes in the sunlight and get the benefit of looking young, healthy and gorgeous with the help of vitamin D.

Also, many idiopathic health conditions like allergies can be due to low levels of vitamin D. In winter, because the sunlight is week, you can’t produce enough of the vitamin and can often catch colds because of reduced immunity. Hence, having healthy levels of the D vitamin is very important for over all health well being.

What is the best way to get vitamin D into the body?

Many health professionals say that about 20-40minutes in the moderately strong sunlight is usually the best way to produce your own vitamin D safely and naturally. In college, I met many peers who liked to look tanned. My roommate used to go tanning almost every other day to tan to look good for weekend parties etc. But, I hardly ever saw her spend time in the sun or not apply a heavy sunscreen. Many studies establish a link between tanning beds and the risk of skin cancer. Apparently, the UV light from the tanning beds is a lot stronger than the strongest sunrays. So, if you like looking tanned, you should consider going into the sun and enjoy the sunrays rather than going to an expensive tanning salon.

Many milk and food items that are fortified with vitamin D are available in the grocery stores nowadays. But, many of these foods contain only miniscule amounts of the vitamin and often it is artificially. Hence, the little amounts of artificial vitamin D will do nothing to improve your vitamin levels.

If you don’t have time to spend in the sun because of classes or you don’t like going into the sun, you should definitely consider taking organic vitamin D3 supplements. It is a little tricky to get good supplements because there are many companies that use clever marketing techniques to sell low quality supplements that can harm your health. If you don’t want to deal with researching and finding good supplements, you should definitely consider going out and exercising or just spending some time in the sun to raise your vitamin D levels naturally.

Body is a well organized system that requires essential vitamins like vitamin D to function fully and properly. Hence, consider taking time out of your busy schedule and relax in the sun for time to reduce your stress levels and increase your vitamin D levels.



rachelsholiday's picture

Great post!

I cannot stress the importance of vitamin D!  Last year when I went to my clinic for my annual physical (those are super important too) I told my doctor that I had been feeling unusually tired for the past several months and indicated that I thought it may have something to do with my thyroid.  The reasoning behind this was because both my mom and maternal grandmother had both recently learned that they were having thyroid troubles.

My doctor, sweet woman that she is, tested my thyroid but told me that she wanted to test my vitamin D levels as well.  Turns out the reason I was so tired was because my vitamin D levels were dangerously low!  Any lower and I may have needed to be hospitalized.   When talking to my doctor she informed me that everyone living north of Texas (I live in Minnesota) did not get enough vitamin D from the sun.  My problem was not a unique one in this area of the country.

I now take a vitamin supplement (Calcium + Vitamin D) and try to make sure that I buy foods fortified with vitamin D when I can (milk, orange juice, etc.).  Since adopting this practice I’ve noticed that I sleep better and my mood is significantly improved.  A huge bonus for someone like me who suffers from S.A.D.

jvstanley's picture

I didn't realize...

I didnt' realize that one could be hospitalized for Vitamin D deficiency!  Because the Upper Peninsula only has two seasons (winter and construction) I've found that a lot of the time during the winter months I've felt exhausted no matter how much sleep I get.  I happen to rely upon artificial stimulants like coffee and soda to make up for it, but the crash is unbearable.  I've also noticed that a lot of times I feel depressive during the winter months cooped up inside.  Add that to the long list of stresses that consume my life and that is one humdinger of a deal.  I know pediatricians often encourage and even stress the importance of children getting enough Vitamin D, especially during the winter months.  I find as a parent that I focus so much attention on the needs of my children that I often forget my own.  Often times I've found that I make them lunch, but skip lunch myself because I have so many other responsibilities to take care of and I end up forgetting to eat.  when I finally get a chance to, the kids are always wanting to play or other things need to be done, so by the time I do get to eat, its around dinnertime when everything for the most part is accomplished.  

Thank you so much for this informative post.  I'm going to try and implement a regular regime of getting more sunshine into my daily responsibilities.  From the sounds of it, it will seriously impact my overall health and mood in a positive way-which is something that I greatly need right now

wedge1020's picture

Vitamin D

One of the neat things about Vitamin D is that it is actually a hormone rather than a vitamin, and one which is responsible for activating all sorts of genes and keeping the body functioning.

Another Vitamin D deficiency that can occur is the condition known at Rickets, which you'd think would be all but eradicated in our current day, but I've read is actually on the rise again. There is a lot of misinformation out there about the sun. I see far too many people fearing it and thinking any small exposure will give them cancer, that if they do aim for 15-30 minutes of sun a day, it is with copious amounts of sunscreen applied (and that stuff has some pretty ugly ingredients as it is).

One misunderstood thing about natural Vitamin D... even though we hear the "15-30 minutes daily of actual sun", there's another factor in that equation- the total process of sunlight on skin to vitamin D production in the body takes up to 48 hours! So if you're one to go out, get your 15.00 minutes of sun, then hop in the shower, you're potentially invalidating the effort.

I stopped wearing sunscreen years ago, and while I try not to spend long idle amounts of time under the summer sun between the hours of 10am and 4pm, there's also a thing called UV intesity- that is, there is a lot more UV radiation taking place in the middle of the day (considering atmosphere) than on the edges.

Also, there are some natural nutrients/antioxidants one can take to further prevent outright burning. If I know I'm going to be out in the midday sun for over 30 minutes, I'll put on some coconut oil (as a bonus, it is extra good for the skin!), and in general I make sure to take some AstaXanthin, a powerful antioxidant that has some excellent benefits for the eyes and skin (got that tip from Dr. Mercola).

And to address Vitamin D "fortified" foods... this is most often done with Vitamin D2 (the body uses D3). Healthy bodies CAN convert D2 to D3, but I've also read that it order to do so one still needs 15-30 minutes of sunlight to help activate it (otherwise it just flushes out).

So if you're not getting it naturally, Vitamin D3 supplementation really is the way to go.

Jay Pineda's picture

Wow what a great post. I

Wow what a great post. I first thought that staying under the sun for at least 20 - 40 minutes is just for babies. lol. My mother always tell me that babies should be under the sun for 20 - 40 minutes. But obviously, based from this very enlightening post, I am wrong. Being under the sun is needed by everyone but that does not make a problem for me, lol. I am usually outdoors every time the sun's rays is out and is ready to darken anyone who dares to stay under it for a long period of time. My class usually starts at 11 in the morning, So I am already out by around 9, and by commuting to school in that hour, I believe I can already get enough Vitamin D.

Well for the tanning part, I also agree with that. For me the natural way is always better. And why spend money on a tanning machine than being under the sun for free? It also has a lot of benefits. But however I believe that this isn't applicable to my country because our country is a hot one, literally. We don't need to get tanned anymore because we are not white naturally. And it's all because of the sun.


Again, another great post! Perhaps when I am walking under the sun, I shall only remember this post and the benefits of being under the sun.

Mercer Smith's picture

This is actually really neat.

This is actually really neat. I have never really had a health course, or been taught was the different supplements do, so this was really informative for me. I knew that tanning beds could potentially be really bad for your health and cause skin cancer, but I didn't know that they didn't even provide the same vitamins that the sun did. I also didn't quite understand how vitamin D was produced or how it affected us. Luckily for me, I spend about the time that you designated as healthy (thirty to forty minutes) in the sun every day because of my bicycling! Talk about killing two birds with one stone, ha.

I do find it interesting that sitting in the sun and producing vitamin D can help to slow aging, especially because so many studies have proven that the sun increases aging, age spots, and wrinkles. Maybe the aging part is just if you aren't wearing sunscreen or don't protect yourself properly? I'm not sure, either way that part stuck out to me. I have always really enjoyed the sun and the nice glow that it has given me, so it is really good to hear that it serves a purpose other than just making me feel more attractive!