Last year around this time, I found myself unusually drained of energy. Thinking it was my thyroid levels, I sought help from Dr. Howard Prager , an expert in natural solutions for metabolic disorders. After some blood work, learned that my Vitamin D levels were low. Dr Prager, coincidentally, is the author of the well-received “The Vitamin D Survival Guide, the Missing Link for Optimum Health”. This is a suiting topic for many right now, so I asked him to share some valuable information with us.
Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to many ailments. The long list includes: anemia, anxiety, arthritis, decreased ability to fight cold, flu, and infections, Crohn’s disease, heart disease, dental caries, asthma, autism, chronic pain, eczema, IBS, infertility, mood disorders, SAD (Season Affective Disorder), insomnia, inflammation, and up to 20 types of cancers.
It’s very difficult to get Vitamin D3 from food sources. Salmon is best – it provides about 350 IU’s, but in winter months, we may need more. You may need to take a Vitamin D3 supplement (not D2, which is the prescription form and is poorly absorbed). D3 can be found as capsule or liquid and may have additional co-factors to help absorption (Cod liver oil, Vitamin K, Magnesium, Zinc, and Boron are a few that may be necessary depending on the patients nutritional status and autoimmune condition). Blood work needs to be done to determine how much D3 you really may need.
Sunlight is the best natural source. In warmer months, the best time for sun exposure is when the sun is highest in the sky, between 10am to 2 pm. (Your shadow needs to be shorter than you are, as a rule of thumb). At this time, we need to expose at least 50% of our skin for 30-40 mins depending on skin color – up to 6X longer for dark skin, less in very fair skin people. One must always be aware of MED – Minimal Erythemal Dose – which is just enough sunlight to redden the skin without causing any sunburn. That is your maximum daily exposure. You can absorb 20,000 IU in one exposure to the sun just described! Therefore, you do not need sun exposure daily; 2-3 times/week is more than enough. Also, allow time for absorption, try not to wash your skin for a couple hours after exposure.