Are You Getting Enough Vitamin D?

Sunshine

I wish I could say that now that it’s fall, we should all check our vitamin D levels and make sure that we have enough in our bodies. However, the truth is, for most people, getting vitamin D is becoming harder and harder – no matter what time of the year it is. Most of this is due to the fact that the best source of vitamin D  is the sun, but the sun has been blamed for a variety of health problems, so people are doing everything they can to avoid it. This in turn has led to a global vitamin D deficiency. The good news is this: you can still get some vitamin D from the sun and not put yourself at risk for getting sunburned or getting skin cancer.

Why do I need vitamin D?

Vitamin D serves many purposes, and does everything from helping your body absorb calcium (which is necessary for good bone health) to helping strengthen your immune system; vitamin D may even offer protection against a variety of diseases including psoriasis, some autoimmune disorders, and even cancer. (Click here for more information.)

What is the best source of vitamin D?

Most doctors recommend getting some sunshine every day, but the exact amount of time that you need to be outside differs from person to person. If you’re fair-skinned, I wouldn’t recommend being in the sun without sunscreen for more than 10-15 minutes. If you’re tan, 15-20 minutes should be fine. The darker your skin, the more exposure to the sun you need to make vitamin D. If you’re concerned about being in the sun, apply sunscreen after about 10 minutes to be on the safe side. I like to put some sunscreen on my face and hands, but wear a tank top and shorts – that way I can protect sensitive areas of my body, but expose some lesser sensitive areas. It’s also important to mention that the closer you live to the equator, the easier it is to get enough vitamin D from the sun. The middle of the day is when you should try to get some vitamin D from the sun. Check with your doctor to make sure you’re staying safe and protecting yourself while trying to get enough vitamin D – we don’t want any overexposure or sunburns!

What if I want to supplement?

Dr. Andrew Weil recommends 2,000 IU of vitamin D per day(based on research and the growing number of people with a vitamin D deficiency). Also, it’s important to note that there are several forms of vitamin D, including D2 and D3. Vitamin D3 is recommended when supplementing. If you want to know if you are vitamin D deficient, ask your doctor for a blood test; if you are deficient, ask your doctor how much you should supplement so that you know what is best for you (we are all different!). There are some vegan vitamin D3 supplements, such as Nature’s Plus Source of Life Garden Vitamin D3, which you can purchase here. (Be sure to check with your doctor before you start taking supplements!).

Vitamin D is important so I encourage you to get a blood test and make sure that you have enough; if  you are deficient, talk to your doctor about supplementing and repeat your blood test in a few months to make sure that you are doing everything correctly and safely. Best of luck! And if you can find some sun out there, go get some vitamin D!

Fall is Here!

Persimmon

                                 {I took this picture at the farmers’ market yesterday!}

Though it might be hard to tell (especially in Los Angeles), fall is finally here! This weekend it was 90 degrees and it felt more like an August day than an autumn day, but I tried to appreciate the warmth while it was here. It’s finally a bit cooler, but I’m still waiting for consistently cool temperatures – I want the weather to feel like it’s fall! I live in Los Angeles, so I don’t get to experience seasons the way that other people around the country and the rest of the world do, but I still love fall. I look forward to the leaves changing colors, my favorite TV shows returning, and switching from flip flops and tank tops to boots, sweaters, and scarves. There’s something about fall that makes me feel more focused; it makes me feel like it’s time to reflect, turn inwards, and truly examine what is going on in my life. Am I happy? Am I fulfilled? Is my career turning out the way that I had hoped? These are just some of the questions that I have been pondering lately.

I recently created a vision board. I have it in my room and it’s brought me lots of happiness. If you’ve never made a vision board, try it. It’s a great way to put images and words that represent what you would like to have happen in your life. Now that we’re changing seasons, we can set new intentions and watch them unfold. If you’re looking for romance, for example, perhaps some images of your favorite fictional characters will make their way onto your board (Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy, anyone?). Or, if you’re trying to attract wealth, you can include images of hundred dollar bills or famous entrepreneurs. For me, the colder weather, the shorter days, and longer nights mean that there’s more time to write, read, and work and that’s okay by me.

This fall I want to really reach for the stars. I have so many goals in mind, so I’m breaking them down and taking each one step by step. If you’re like me, you need that extra reminder to breathe, slow down, and relax. Join me in setting new intentions for the season: Will you finally switch jobs? Are you trying to lose weight? Will you cook more? Spend less? Now is the time to try!