Don't be SAD. Here's where to find your Vitamin D.11 February 2019
When sunrise sits at around 8 am and sunset just before 5pm - it’s winter. Gloomy to say the least and there is increasingly more evidence demonstrating that individuals with low blood levels of vitamin D (which is obtained primarily through natural light), endure symptoms of low mood. It’s not pleasant and when depressive signs come amount year on year in seasons with fewer daylight hours, then you may be dealing with Seasonal Affective Disorder.
There is no quick fix but what you can do is get a grip on your vitamin D intake. Because the SAD truth (sorry) is that on average, we’ll see only 9 daylight hours throughout February and these chime perfectly within usual working hours. It’s not easy getting your fair dose of vitamin D through the sun, but we’ve some tips to up your levels and help you sway the blues away.
Start with Supplements
One should obtain enough vitamin D through leading a healthy diet, but where vitamin D is found in food - eggs, oily fish, milk - it doesn’t quite cut the mustard for your RDA which per day is 25 µg (1000 IU) for infants under 12 months, 50 µg (2000 IU) for children between 1-11 years old, and 100 µg (4000 IU) for adults and adolescents over 11 years of age.
You can find softgel capsules at health and beauty stores like Holland and Barretts. Many providing (400 IU) per capsule which is ideal, and they have vegetarian alternatives too.
So a supplement won’t hurt, and as well as the potential to experience an elevated mood, vitamin D is needed for the absorption and utilisation of Calcium and Phosphorus, meaning that it plays an important part in the maintenance of a healthy immune system, healthy bones, normal teeth and muscle function that comes with normal blood calcium levels.
Try Light Therapy
Light therapy has proved successful for many over the years. How does a white light lamp work? First things first, it is short-wavelength UVB, not UVA, that triggers vitamin D production. So we’re not talking about a sunbed which primarily exposes you to a cancerous combination of UVA, and some UVB, but rather a small light therapy lamp that mimics the outdoor light.
It is thought that setting one up at your desk or in an area where you spend some time each day could have a positive effect on chemicals in the brain that contribute to normal mood and sleeping patterns.
Book a holiday
It may be dim on this side of the world but you’re likely to find tropical weather conditions and stronger sun rays in Cape Verde, the Caribbean and the likes. So why not book yourself a last-minute holiday? A sweet deal from TUI or Thomson will make your time away an even sunnier occasion.
Before you let yourself burn to a crisp, be sure to wear sun protection. Although most sunscreens block UVA and UVB, the amount used isn’t usually so much that would be detrimental to vitamin D absorption.
Thankfully, your body starts producing sufficient vitamin D before your skin goes crimson anyhow, and those with darker skin may need to spend more time in the sun. In a short amount of time, your body could produce 10,000 to 25,000 IU and exposing larger areas like your back to the sun, will ensure you make the most of the opportunity.
Happy vitamin D days!