The Most Important Vitamin You Probably Aren't Getting Enough Of

I have spent the majority of my life on the North East Coast or in the Midwest suffering through cold winter months. Seasonless West Coasters cannot understand the pure joy that comes over me and my fellow season-sufferers when we finally hit the first day of Spring. The days start lasting longer, and the rays of sunlight shine down on our pale but smiling faces. 

The Sunshine Vitamin

That feeling of joy is not just psychological. Rays from the sun are crucial to both regulating our moods and immune system, as well as preventing cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, and promoting healthy bones and brain dexterity. This is all thanks to the “Sunshine Vitamin,” Vitamin D.

Study after study shows that Vitamin D does, prevents, and promotes just about everything we want it to do. But here’s the rub: chances are, if you live below the equator, you aren’t getting enough of it from November through March. 

In the past few years, researchers have estimated we should be getting around 1000 IU of vitamin D a day - significantly more than the current government guideline of 200 IU. A few generations back, getting enough vitamin D wasn’t as much of an issue, as the average person spent more time outside in the sun. But in our technology based world, most of us spend our weekdays inside, at a computer, and if we’re lucky we get a few minutes of sun exposure between going to and from work. 

Here Come The Sun

While you can get some of your Vitamin D from diet- oily fish like salmon, veggies like mushrooms, and (if you’re feeling adventurous) organ meats- most of us are not able to consume enough of the vitamin to reached adequate levels. The fact is, vitamin D’s most potent source is UVB rays.

So what’s a D-deficient girl or guy to do? For starters, take advantage of the sun when you have it. 10-15 minutes of unprotected sun exposure a day is sufficient, so when it’s nice out, take your lunch break outside (and put on SPF after those fifteen minutes)! But during those winter months when the season-suffers among us have no options, it’s worth taking a daily vitamin to up our intake. 

I’ll certainly be adding one to my winter routine. Until then, starting today, if anyone needs me, they can find me sunbathing between 12-1pm EST. It’s for my health! 

Alder New York and its materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. All material on Alder New York is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health related program.

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