All About That D

All About That D”

You betta’ believe talkin’ about that D is one of my all time fav past times, and not just while giggling with my girlfriends over a glass of wine! I’m talking bout VITAMIN-D, of course! This is a high-brow blog spot after all and I’d never stoop to the lows of discussing the male genitalia in such a public forum! Okay, obviously that’s a total lie. I’m sure I’ll get to topics like that in future blogs so stay tuned for those train wrecks…

For now, let me tell you my story and holler at you with a lil’ knowledge ’bout VITAMIN-D. This might just get you back on track to being the superhuman you were destined to be.

Here’s my story: I had my vitamin D levels tested by my ND (naturopath doc) a couple of years ago, and my levels were low. My Vitamin D deficiency was affecting me in all kinds of ways (both mentally and physically). My symptoms ranged from anxiety and depression to sleep issues, and of course my immune system was way outta’ whack!

For someone who travels constantly for work and interacts with thousands of “germy” humans (no offense, guys) on a daily basis, not having my immune system up to par was wreaking all types of havoc on my life.

This news about my D levels being low sent me on my journey to learn more ’bout this “vitamin” and why it was so important that I get more of it!

 

 

Through the methods I’ll mention below I was able to bring my vitamin D levels up. Since then I’ve traveled the world several times over in public planes, trains, and automobiles, been in close proximity with zillions of sick individuals, sipped out of the same straw as someone with a cold(I’m such a germaphobe that this was EXTREMELY out of my character), and, as the ultimate test, even failed to wash my hands before eating after riding a metro and touching the hand rails(so damn gross, I know… don’t try that at home kids). After subjecting myself to these and countless other potential immune system threatening situations, I was gloriously victorious in not coming down with so much as a sniffle! Success!

Side note: there are plenty of other ways I work to stay healthy outside of upping my vitamin D intake and absorption; you better believe that I’ll get to these methods in future posts/blogs, but I know the majority of humans are suffering from some level of vitamin D deficiency (whether you know it or not), so I thought this would be a great place to start!

There really isn’t a quick fix to a vitamin D deficiency. Depending on how deficient you are, it may take some time in order to get yourself back to the proper levels. Below, I’ll discuss a few methods I used.

First things first: Sunshine! Getting plenty of sun in your life is not just a good idea – it’s absolutely essential to your health! What a great excuse to get outdoors and soak up some rays. However, getting just any type of sunshine won’t cut it.

 

In order for the sun to stimulate your Vitamin D production, the sun needs to be at a minimum of about 50 degrees, or greater, above the horizon (90% would be directly overhead). Ideally, the sun should be as close to overhead as possible; the closer to overhead it is, the greater its potential for stimulating Vitamin D production (and the less time you have to be in the sun to produce a given amount of Vitamin D).

Additionally, the more atmosphere UVB rays have to travel through, the more UVB rays are prevented from reaching the surface of the earth; and the lower the sun is in the sky, the more atmosphere these UVB rays travel through. If the sun is low enough, UVB rays are completely blocked by the atmosphere before they even reach you, and Vitamin D production is not possible.

Thankfully, there is a site where you can calculate which hours of the day and on what days you can get “good sun” according to your location on the planet; It’s called the “sun/moon altitude/azimuth table”. The site is fairly simple to use. If you click through on the link below most of the default settings should already be filled in. You’ll just need to add the location(state/territory and city/town) and adjust the date, then hit “compute table”. What you’re looking for are the hours of the day where the altitude is listed at 50 degrees or higher. You can check it out for yourself by clicking here:

The blacker the berry, the more D you can handle (it’s just science people). It’s very important to note that different skin tones need different levels of Vitamin D intake. Your pigmentation definitely determines how much of the D you should be getting. Melanin is a key factor here.

Melanin is designed to protect your skin from over-exposure to those ultraviolet rays. The more melanin your skin possesses, the darker your skin will be and the less Vitamin D will be produced by your body via sun exposure.

Conversely, the more pale your skin is, the more quickly your skin will produce Vitamin D while your soaking up those rays. For instance, if you’re incredibly light-skinned (see chart below for types I or II), you may only need about fifteen minutes of sunlight to get the daily dose your body needs. If your skin is much darker (see chart below for types V and VI), you may need closer to two hours to get that D. With the help of this chart, provided by The Vitamin D Council, you can get an idea of where your skin tone might fall when it comes to UVB ray tolerance and D absorption. Check it out:

 

The amount of time that would be considered “heathy” for you to spend in direct sunlight will, again, be very much dependent on time of year and position of the sun in the sky.

Seeking Penetration: No one likes a cock-blocker, am I right?! Well, I bet you’ll feel the same disdain for these D-blockers once you know how to recognize them. In addition to the atmosphere being a mega biznatch when the sun is trying its hardest to give you the D, clouds also block UVB rays, so if it is cloudy or overcast you probably aren’t going to produce any Vitamin D. How rude!

Similarly, UVB rays are also blocked by ozone and pollution. In some cities excessive pollution can be enough to severely limit the amount of UVB rays reaching the ground and; therefore, the potential to make Vitamin D is also limited.

As a side note, UVB rays also don’t penetrate glass (or clothing). If you are in your car or behind a glass window Vitamin D production isn’t possible. UVB rays have to strike your exposed skin to make Vitamin D creation possible. And yup, you guessed it, sunscreen lotion also blocks the production of Vitamin D.

 

With this in mind, and since Vitamin D production and sun damage go hand and hand, it’s a trade-off. With every second you are in the sun you are doing damage to your skin—even when you are producing Vitamin D. So to sum it up: If you want to produce Vitamin D in the sun then you need to do so when the sun is as close to overhead as possible. Spend as little time as possible in the sun to produce Vitamin D according to your skin tone, and then get out of the sun.

Vampire Diaries: If you’re anything like me and are trying with all your might to slowly morph into a never aging vampire, you may be asking yourself, what are my options for getting Vitamin D without the (sun)damage. I’m so glad you asked!

 

Fortunately, there are many “D-liscious” foods you can introduce into your diet (if you’re not already eating them).

Here are thirteen (easy to find) excellent food sources of Vitamin D:

-Wild Caught Fish

-Beef Liver

-Egg Yolks (not just the whites)

-Canned Fish

-Milk (it can be whole, reduced fat, or even nonfat)

-Almond Milk

-Pudding (made from milk)

-Orange Juice

-Breakfast Cereals

-Fortified Tofu

-Oatmeal

-Cheese

-& (last, but not least) Mushrooms!!!

 

Mushrooms ARE magical…and not just the ones that make you dive deep into your inner psyche whilst hiding under your couch from an evil forest gnome who was once your cat. Mushrooms (of the non-hallucinogenic variety) have within them a “pro-vitamin” known as Ergosterol. This precursor is converted into Vitamin D when, not unlike your skin, it is exposed to the sun’s UV rays. So, as long as the mushrooms you’re consuming have been exposed to the sun they’ll contain a healthy amount of the D! It is odd to think that mushrooms are quite the superfood, as it was not that long ago that they were thought to be basically useless. So if you’re a mushroom-aholic like I am, then make sure you’re kickin’ down some ‘shrooms whenever you get the chance.

Fake it ’til you make it: Sadly, the poor diets that many of us have coupled with too little exposure to “good sun” will still cause us to fall victim to a vitamin D deficiency – enter Supplementation.

 

 

Supplementing your intake with a good D3 can help give us that extra boost we need. You can absorb a greater amount of Vitamin D if you use a D supplement that includes vitamin K2 as well. Vitamins D3 and K2 have been rightfully dubbed the “dynamic duo” in your vitamin cabinet. If you are taking a great deal of vitamin D then you are actually strengthening your body’s calcium(and there is such a thing as too much). K2 not only helps to regulate / balance this, but also provides a myriad of other benefits to your body from proper bone mineralization to balancing the coagulation of your blood. Cool, huh?!

Here is a link to one of my favorite D3/K2 combo supps: 

Cod Almighty: Another great way to get some more Vitamin D is by taking Cod Liver Oil. Sounds nasty, I know, but you can take it in capsule form and it’s nothing like what you saw in the old school TV specials where you’d have to hold your nose and chug it down (insert gagging noise here). Cod Liver Oil (CLO) not only contains Vitamin D, but is also a good source of Omega 3 fatty acids and Vitamin A. There may be “other fish in the sea”, so to speak, but when it comes to getting your D vitamins Cod Liver Oil is “the One”. Check out some terrific CLO from Swanson’s here:

 

And while you’re at it, Calcium Phosphate is another great supplement to add to this regiment as it helps with proper absorption of vitamins D and A, Omegas 3’s in the CLO, and helps to fortify the calcium in your bones. Is this what true love looks like or what?! #ThePerfectMatch

D on the brain: “Vitamin” D actually carries more of the attributes of a hormone than that of a vitamin- hence the air quotes.

In fact, in many circles, Vitamin D is referred to as a “ProHormone”. A ProHormone is defined as, “A substance that the body converts into a hormone”. Your kidneys actually produce this vital vitamin, which has a great impact upon your immune system and actually controls blood calcium concentration.

In and of itself, Vitamin D is biologically inactive, but after being introduced into your body, your liver and endocrine glands convert this vitamin, and you reap the amazing benefits.

Some more fantastic news is that Vitamin D actually affects your brain in a positive way. Vitamin D has been known to activate and deactivate enzymes in the brain that promote nerve growth, as well as having a positive effect on receptors throughout your central nervous system (CNS).

 

 

In the words of one of those Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: “That’s totally Tubular, Dude!”(God! I’m such a nerd…but if you’ve read this far down my blog then guess what, you’re a nerd too!).

Wrap up that D!: So, in summary, we found that Vitamin D is absolutely essential to one’s health. A Vitamin D deficiency can lead to some seriously deteriorating and detrimental ailments. Vitamin D has a direct (and positive) effect upon our brain’s and body’s in a multitude of ways so we’d be doing ourselves a favor by getting more of it via outdoor activity, diet, and supplementation.

Find an amazing Naturopathic or Nutrition savvy Doctor with the knowledge and knowhow to test your vitamin, nutrient, and hormone levels so you can promptly get on the path to being the best possible weirdo you can be.

 

 

Everyone’s got time for a Quickie: For those of you who are more prone to watching a Bellator fight over reading a book, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. Below I’ve made a quick list of a few practical methods for getting your D back on track if you’ve fallen off the wagon.

THE QUICK LIST:

  • Get outdoors to soak up that beautiful, life-nourishing sunshine.
  • Eat foods that are rich in Vitamin D (listed above).
  • Add Vitamin D Supplements into your daily routine.
  • Cod liver oil is nutritious and, well, far from delicious, but now made much more palatable in a soft gel capsule.
  • Help keep your brain and body in sync by testing your hormone and vitamin D levels and getting yourself on track to being superhuman!

If you’ve read this far then I’m impressed! Well done! Thank you so much for stickin’ with me while I nerded-out on the D! If you enjoyed this blog please feel free to share this on your social media outlets. It would mean the world to me and could surely help someone on your timeline who is suffering from a deficiency in D.

They may not even know it!

Love,

Mercedes T.

Disclaimer: These are my personal understandings of the aforementioned subjects. I do not claim to be a doctor or specialist in any related subjects. Please do your own research, find your own truth, and live the most vibrant, fulfilling lives that you possibly can. 🖖

Photo credit: @lucasnoonan @brocellinger @thechive

Incredibly bad photo edits by: Me!