Do you remember that commercial where a woman is sitting at her desk working and she looks at her clock and it reads 4:35pm, she than looks outside and it’s dark, and she bursts into tears? I think all us Canadians can relate to this feeling in the Fall & Winter months. These days; the sun doesn’t rise until 7:45am, and goes down around 6:30pm. This is a concern because less sunlight means we’re not getting our daily requirement of vitamin D (when exposed to sunlight our skin creates Vitamin D).
Vitamin D is important because of its role in calcium absorption. It allows the calcium that we get from food and supplements to be absorbed and used properly in our bodies. This is important because our bones are made primarily of calcium and phosphorus. Without vitamin D, the calcium & phosphorus levels in our blood decrease and these minerals end up getting pulled from our bones. Without vitamin D our bones become weak and over the long-term can cause serious diseases such as osteoporosis. This is why I take calcium-magnesium along with vitamin D; to optimize their absorption.
During the spring & summer months (when exposed to sunlight), our bodies produce vitamin D, but too much sun exposure causes a host of other problems, which is why it’s best to get your D from food and supplements year-round. The best food sources of vitamin D are egg yolks, butter and oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring & sardines. You can also use this as an excuse to book a sunny vacation in January or February. Just make sure to wear a minimum of spf 30 suncreen, and keep your sun exposure to a minimum of 30 minutes – 1 hour at a time.
When it comes to vitamin D supplements it depends on the individual and time of year. That being said, 1000 IU for an adult during the summer months is probably enough. But during the winter months you can take up to 2000 IU per day*. I recently made a visit to Gingko Health (a supplement store in Toronto), and they recommend vitamin D drops. Specifically, a brand called AOR or D-Mulsion. They are 2000 IU and one bottle contains about 57 drops, which you just drop onto your tongue once or twice a day. It’s $27.99, but it’s a high quality product. Jamieson is also a good quality supplement brand, which is a little cheaper and available at most pharmacies.
*Make sure to double-check with your doctor before taking any supplements
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