Here is a short look at the benefits of vitamin D on the body and mind with ways to increase levels.
- Healthy Bones: Vitamin D helps in the absorption of calcium when in the intestines and reclaiming it as well from the kidneys. As we know calcium is essential in bone health. A lack of vitamin D in adults can lead to osteoporosis which, is a weakening of the bone structure. In children this can present as rickets and bow legs.
- Mood: There is some correlation between vitamin D levels and a neurotransmitter called serotonin. Serotonin has many affects on our bodies from appetite, sleep and mood. Serotonin is made from an amino acid called tryptophan which is found in meat. So when vitamin D is present serotonin is made from tryptophan and released into the body. So if our vitamin D levels are low and if serotonin is not produced, if continued has shown to lead to depressive disorders. Wonder why people are happier when the sun is shining?
Ways to increase vitamin D levels:
- Sunshine: The sun is the best way we can source vitamin D and it is from the UVB rays. Clothes and sunscreen actually block the production in vitamin D as they block the UVB rays from the sun. I am not saying ditch the sun cream as melanoma is high in Australia. Also a common question is can you sit behind window and do it? The answer is NO as again the window blocks the essential UVB rays. So get outside and go for that walk! You might not feel like it now but afterwards you will feel better.
- Food: Some foods contain good levels of vitamin D. These include fatty fish (salmon, tuna and makeral), mushrooms and eggs.
What we need to be aware of is that during the winter months (March – October) the suns rays are not that powerful causing a decrease in our vitamin D levels and supplementation may be advised. But first always seek advice from a doctor first if you are worried about anything spoken about here.