I was just about to start typing and realized I had not taken my vitamin D yet today. Yes, I am going to talk about vitamin D. A few years back I had no clue how this little molecule could change my life so much during the winter.
If you do not know much about vitamin D, let me give you a brief overview. This vitamin is one that we require for many functions of our body. One of the most noticeable in our society is its connection to mood and depression. Vitamin D is manufactured by our bodies after our skin is exposed to sunlight. Different amounts of sunlight will cause different levels of vitamin D production.
If you know a bit about the cycle of the year, you may then be thinking that different times of the year levels of vitamin D would vary. You are correct. In the latitude that the United States resides in, we have access to enough sunlight from June to August that only 10 minutes outside for light skinned individuals or 45 for darker skinned individuals will allow for adequate manufacturing of vitamin D. During the rest of the year, twice that is required.
That sounds quite easy. Free vitamins from the sun that will help me improve my mental health. Well yes, but um…. do you get outside every day? Do you expose a significant amount of your skin to the sun when you are outside? What about when it is cloudy? Do you spend more time outside the next day? It is easy to see that we cannot reasonably get all of our vitamin D from being in the sun. Yes, it is a wonderful method but it is not always possible.
In the winter when many individuals are experiencing seasonal effective disorder, vitamin D supplementation can be really crucial. I started supplementing with vitamin D a few years ago and my winters have greatly improved. I feel like I have more energy, I am able to focus on my work more efficiently, and I don’t feel like I want to stay in bed all day.
While the RDA, recommended daily allowance, for vitamin D is very low, I generally recommend at least 1000 IU daily, with up to 2500 IU during the winter for maintenance of your vitamin D levels. If you have a low level already, you are already depressed and you have no idea the last time you were in the sun, you may want to double this for a few weeks to get back on track. These are the two brands that I love to use. Pills are not great for vitamin D and drops are super easy to take. It really is only 1-2 drops per day (depending on the brand). This Rainbow Light gummy is delicious and is excellent to keep my compliance up so I do actually take it every day.
If you would like more guidance in finding what wellness activities, such as getting outside and supplementing with vitamins can be helpful for you, consider our book A Beginner’s Guide to Wellness or a consultation with Jillian Carnrick at The Dancing Herbalist.