Vitamin D is perhaps one of the most essential vitamins that we know of.
It is responsible for strong bones and teeth, good eyesight, prevention of osteoporosis (bone health) and is perhaps one of the most powerful tools we have when it comes to cancer protection.
It is recommended, by countless reputable bodies, for preventing bone density loss, breast cancer, and even depression.
So why are we all so deficient? …
It is currently estimated that up to 80 % of the US population is deficient in Vitamin D (the sunshine vitamin) which may seem understandable if you live in a place like the UK or Washington state where there is very little sun … But what about where I live? …Hawaii?!
Yes, in the tropical islands of Hawaii, which are famed for their beautiful sun, surf, aloha spirit and a life that is centered around vitamin D, we are still seeing deficiencies.
So how is that the majority of my clients have sun damage and vitamin D deficiencies? These should not go hand in hand!
1. Make sure you are getting enough of the right kind of sun
The average Caucasian person needs 10 minutes of unprotected sunlight a day in order to synthesize enough vitamin D. “Unprotected sunlight” is exactly what it sounds like, it means no sunscreen, sun exposure on your eyes, and sun all over your naked body.
Unprotected Sun Exposure 😉 In moderation – a burnt bum is not fun!
The more pigment you have in your skin (aka, the darker you are), the more sunlight you will require. The best time of the day for sunlight is early morning, (sunrise to 10 am). Early morning sunlight is the best for you because it is gentle, and as a bonus, morning sunlight can help you lose weight by regulating melatonin production and normalizing hormones.
So are you getting that 10 minutes of unprotected sun exposure each day?
Probably not. Think about your day. Wake up, put on sunscreen before we leave the house, go to work, sit in an office, sit in a car, it can be tough to get enough vitamin D with a modern day lifestyle.
So if you are not getting enough sunlight… fake it, here’s how …
2. Hack your sun exposure with special lamps
For a very inexpensive price, you can buy lamps that simulate natural sunlight. If you are a person that struggles with getting out of bed in the morning during the winter while it is still dark (by this I mean if you are everyone in the world ever created), then these are a must for you.
These natural lights will stimulate a sunrise effect for your hormones and body and give you a little boost of Vitamin D. Place one next to your bed, or just sit with it on you while you sip on a cup of tea in the morning.
3. Get rid of the harsh soaps in the shower
Vitamin D is created in the body by your bacteria, and the oil on your skin plays an essential role! If you are continually stripping your skin’s oils, which are naturally anti-microbial and provide you with a built-in sunscreen system, then you are unable to bring sunlight in and turn it into vitamin D.
If your skin feels tight after washing, then you have used a soap that is too harsh. You want to avoid surfactants and harsh products. Think “did mother nature make this?”
Interested in a list of gentle and toxin free body products? Here are my favorites.
Dry brushing is another great way to stimulate oil production on your skin. You can add essential oils to the brush, but you do it in a gentle circular motion and always toward the heart.
And lastly, use oils that moisturize and penetrate your skin, not ones that just sit on your skin. Coconut oil has been touted as the ‘best ever solution’ for skin – but frankly, that’s a bit wrong. The molecules of coconut oil are very large, making it hard to penetrate and carry anything in. This means it is a great “protector” but not a great “carrier.” JoJoba oil is a much better oil for penetrating the skin. It is a wonderful base to use when creating your own body products, or you can use it alone. It mimics the skin’s natural sebum, allowing it to penetrate and moisturize in a beautiful way that won’t leave you greasy.
4. Eat foods high in vitamin D
Foods high in Vitamin D include hemp products (hemp oil), mushrooms, eggs, and cheeses made without antibiotics and fillers.
*A hint – buy foreign – French cheese is the best! To be honest, though most vitamin D comes through sunshine. This is the most important way to get your vitamin D.
Warning! Let’s start off with the fact that you can take too much vitamin D. This is one worth getting a test for before supplementing with.
Most people are deficient but if you aren’t you shouldn’t be taking it. Symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency include tiredness, aches, and pains, but sometimes there are no symptoms at all.
Vitamin D works best with calcium and K2 (another very deficient vitamin). Toxicity can occur if taken in excess of 1000-1,500 IU daily for a month or longer so make sure to check your levels with your Doctor to see where you’re starting from and how much you need to supplement with.
You can ask for a 25-hydroxy vitamin D blood test – 25 OH D.
Don’t worry if you don’t know what that is your Doctor will (and if they don’t you should find a new one!)
5. Protect your gut bacteria
The bacteria in your gut are like little vitamin shops. They are constantly churning out things to help our bodies work and interpreting the world around us. They are like our little worker bees, and at this moment in society, they are ones that we have worked to death! Literally …
Antibiotics and preservatives are designed to kill these bacteria so every time you eat something with a crazy shelf life you have compromised your cute little gut bacteria.
* Hint – food should not last until the end of time unless you are doomsday prepping – in which case call me, I have my “bug-out bag ready to go.”
Steps to protect your gut:
- Time in nature (hands in the soil),
- Sleeping properly (suffering from insomnia, check out my sleep hacks.)
- Eating a wider variety of plant-based foods
- Fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut
- Eliminating processed foods
- Reducing stress (interested in reducing stress?)
So Vitamin D is incredibly important. It’s your “holiday hormone” that you need all year long! And while I do have a ‘food first’ policy, the bottom line is you should probably be supplementing with vitamin D.
Or running around naked on the beach … 🙂 The choice is yours, but the latter is way more fun.