By: Katie Verburg
Katie Verburg is an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer who is currently studying to become a Holistic Health Coach. She has been in the health and fitness industry for a decade. Here, she writes about the benefits of vitamin D.
In late fall and especially once winter sets in, the chilly weather, minimal daylight, and overall gloom can dampen one's spirits. These feelings are especially prevalent among those who live in the northern half of the country. With colder temperatures, many people tend to stay inside where it’s warm. However, failure to get enough vitamin D, as well as a lack of exercise, can affect the physical and mental well-being of adults and children alike. For many people, cold-weather months can produce feelings of unhappiness. Long story short: When the sun disappears for days at a time, moods, energy levels, and motivation are all lost.
Optimal vitamin D levels can help boost mood and assist in improving overall health. Unfortunately, many people are deficient in vitamin D due to the fact that they spend majority of time indoors, or they live in a climate that rarely sees sunshine. On average, the recommended daily dose of vitamin D is 400 IU (international unit), but most get much less than this.
So, how can one achieve optimal vitamin D levels and start bringing feelings of happiness back into the picture? Here are a few tips:
Find Alternative Options
If you have a hard time getting enough natural sunlight during the winter months, consider buying a vitamin D lamp for your home or your desk at work. Though many artificial lights claim to do the job, make sure to purchase one that is as close as possible to the natural sunlight spectrum and proven to increase vitamin D levels.
Take a Trip
If getting sufficient levels of UVA rays from the sun proves difficult during the cold winter months, consider saving up some money during the summer for a vacation to a sunny destination during the winter. This will make enduring the cold, dark months more bearable, and you’ll come back feeling refreshed and energized.
Get Some Sleep
Insufficient sleep can increase irritability, moodiness, weight gain, and poor judgment. It is recommended that adults get between 7-9 hours of sleep each night, which in turn helps with the production of serotonin. Deep sleep helps the brain to naturally convert serotonin into melatonin, which is our main sleep hormone that improves our chance of getting a solid night’s sleep. Try adding in Vital Proteins Sleep Collagen Shot before bed to reap even more benefits!
Try a Supplement
When it comes to our mood, the higher your vitamin D levels are, the more likely you are to feel happy rather than sad. Since it promotes a healthy mood, vitamin D3, which is often referred to as the sunshine vitamin, can help you get through the cold winter months. Supplementation can assist temporarily but be cautious not to completely replace natural sunlight with supplementation sunlight year-round.
Daily sun exposure to appropriate levels, just 10-30 minutes each day, can boost vitamin D3 levels which can help improve moods. The best time to absorb vitamin D is between 8 A.M. and 10 A.M., but stepping out on a lunch break, phone call, or walking the dog after work are all small options to get more sunshine. Spending even a little bit of time outside will do wonders.