Sunshine vitamin

/ May 8, 2015/ Holistic Nutrition/ 0 comments

Days are warming up and we are all out trying to get our daily dose of sunshine vitamin. Is it really possible?

Let’s just get a little deeper into the facts. We made 85% in our body in the skin from cholesterol to cholecalciferol (D3). Then in the liver, it is converted to 25-hydroxycholecalciferol. Finally in the kidneys, another conversion happens to make 1,25-dihydroxycholecalciferol which is the form the body uses.

But there is a catch! the conversion in the skin requires sunlight exposure. More precisely UVB exposure. This only happens when the sun is 50 degrees above the horizon. So here in Canada from April to October, not enough UVB raditation and for darker skin people like mine, well impossible. In addition, the conversion in the liver requires Boron… So you see is not just getting your sunshine dose here… other factors can hinder those two conversions.

Why so much fuss about Vitamin D?

Here are some of the roles of this Vitamin:

  • Calcium absorption
  • Mineralization of bones
  • Antioxidant action

The vitamin D also helps in:

  • Immune system function to fight infections
  • Cardiovascular function
  • Respiratory system function to keep healthy lungs
  • Brain development

Am I deficient?

If you live in Canada or far from the equator, you are very likely to have a deficiency. Here are some of the possible symptoms:

  • Arthritis
  • Bone pain
  • Burning sensation in the mouth and throat
  • Cataracts
  • Cavities
  • Constipation
  • Insomnia
  • Muscular weakness and spasm
  • Myopia
  • Nervousness
  • Osteomalacia
  • Poor metabolism

How much do I need?

Health Canada recommends for adults (19-50) 1000 IUs and maximum tolerable intake of 2500IUs. For a complete list of the recommendations, see Vitamin D and Calcium: Updated Dietary Reference Intakes.

Now, the Vitamin D council recommends for adults 5000 IU for daily intake and indicates 10000 IU as a safe maximum for oral supplementation. Considering that the body can make 10000 IU to 20000 IU in 30 minutes, well it is not a lot…

Can I get enough from Diet?

Draw your own conclusion. Here is a list of the top food sources of Vitamin D from the world healthiest foods:

Food Serving
Foods Rating
Salmon 4 oz 511.43 128 14.6 excellent
Sardines 3.20 oz 175.09 44 4.2 very good
Cow’s milk 4 oz 62.22 16 3.8 very good
Tuna 4 oz 92.99 23 2.8 good
Eggs 1 each 43.50 11 2.5 good
Mushrooms, Shiitake 0.50 cup 20.30 5 2.2 good

You are going to have to eat lots of salmon to get 1000 IU, let alone 5000 IU! If you are vegan or vegetarian, it is just impossible just eating mushrooms. Remember the amounts on this table does not consider cooking methods and other factors that reduce the mount in food.

Can I get enough from the sun?

In Canada, from October to April, the answer is a flat out no… In the warmer months, the general recommendation is 20-30 m exposing large skin areas like you back, legs, and arms without any sunscreen just until the skin starts turning pink. Closer to noon time is the best time.

There are many factors to consider to get enough UVB exposure:

  • location
  • time of day
  • skin type
  • amount of skin expose

It gets complicated…. So I used a wesb site to help me with the calculations. I did this on April 21st, the temperature said 9C but feels like 6C. It told me that I needed 02:40 h. Needless to say… I reached out for my supplement bottle instead.

Another option is the tanning beds. I never used them and I am not endorsing their use … be ware some do not even have UVB radiation. If you are going to used them, do your research. make sure they have the proper radiation and electrical ballads. Use only until the skin turns pink before burning…

I recognize that the best option is to let our bodies make Vitamin D. However, I have to be realistic so must of the year I supplement with D3.

Yoga and sunshine

Practicing yoga under the sun can also help you get your Vitamin D dose. In addition to all the benefits from your practice, it feels easier to connect to energy of all the live that surrounds you. So you see, you are getting more than sun exposure.

I like to practice some sun salutation and some kapha-reducing yoga postures such as fish, boat, bow, locust, and Camel poses.

Ksepana Mudra

Meditading outside is another alternative as long as your arms, legs, and face are expose.

The Ksepana mudar stimulates eliminatio through the large instestine, skin, and lungs. So I think it lends well to meditating outdoors. Privacy and solitude helps us keep nutrients that are essential and prevents the immune system in getting compromise due to exposure to certain energies.

To practice this mudra:

  • Seat in a quiet place outside
  • Bring your hands together and interlace your fingers
  • Extend the index fingers touching just the tip of each other
  • Cross thumbs tightly and place them against the hollow of each other
  • Point the index fingers to the ground and relax your hands
  • Breath seven to fifteen times concentrating on the exhalation.
  • Then relax hand and place them on your thighs with the palms facing up
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