Day 4: Think: Inner Sunshine

At the same time I found out about  my food allergies, I found I was also very deficient in Vitamin D. (And also some B vitamins). I spent the first winter on two 8-week courses of Vitamin D (i.e. 50K once a week for 8 weeks- retest, still low, repeat for another 8 weeks).

a little "sunshine" for my kitchen while cleaning this afternoon

This brought me up to nominal levels, but still not ideal for someone who is prone to S.A.D. The “normal range” for most people is considered 35-70, so a doctor may say if you test at 35 “That is normal. You’re fine.” However, I learned from my amazing-doctor-that-finally-got-me-healthy, that for people like me, we often need to be right at 70 or even a little higher. You’d really have to take a phenomenal amount of Vitamin D to overdose- your body doesn’t store it very long; that’s why people in the northern regions suffer so much more from S.A.D. However, a simple blood test will tell you what your levels are, and you should check with your doctor as always before making any major changes in your supplements. (end disclaimer)

this was today's weather... all day long!You can read more about vitamin D in a million places online. (And that’s probably not even hyperbole!) But I’ll tell you a couple things I learned.

#1: Vitamin D is made in the skin, when the sun acts on a type of cholesterol in your body. A supplement does not exactly take it’s place, but if you make sure it is Vitamin D3 you will get the most benefit.

#2: If a gal lives in the north, the only months she may get enough from sun exposure are July, August and September. And that’s only if you purpose to get out in the sun,  nearly as often as it comes out. 🙂  All the rest of the year, where I live in anyway, you have to supplement or use a lamp.

photography is one new way i make sunshine... I was so tickled at the drops exploding and dripping in this one! (Click on the photo to see it full size)

I tried an amazing thing last year- a vitamin d LAMP! I found out about a natural  health business where you can sit in front of their Vitamin D lamp for a simple donation to the local foodbank. Seriously, she just has a donation jar. Since you start at 1 minute and work your way up to 4 or so, it doesn’t take a lot of time. It was a record good winter for me, thanks to the extra boost. For the first time, I ended the winter with my Vitamin D levels not below normal! It really boosted me with the supplements I was already taking. I totally need to own one of those babies!

Do we need to talk about tanning? In moderation, yada yada… It can help for sure. It also causes your body to release endorphins (the highly addicting feel-good chemical) and cause you to over-tan because you feel so good after, and end up with skin cancer. Some people caution against the EMF waves in a lot of the beds, too. For me, I’ll stick to the lamp for now!

Even though my annual physical tends to fall in the spring, in early November I always get my Vitamin D levels and thyroid tested before heading into winter. Then I have an idea of what level to supplement at starting out. The recommended dosage has hugely increased in the last couple years. The “USDA” recommended allowance is way below what most people need to be healthy in the winter, in a northern climate. The dosage chart here lines up with what a variety of sources (including the amazing doctor I told you about) now recommend to patients. (Again, it’s easy to have your levels checked. Better safe!) Incidentally, the whole article at the link is really worth reading. It sums up a lot of what I’ve learned really well.

Oh dear… I know that these 31 Days series’ are supposed to be shorter posts… but what can I say?! 🙂  I am not a doctor, and did not bother to regather all of the resources I learned from. There is plenty of information out there!

Welcome, Autumn!

about the photos: Prepping for my inner sunshine post happened on a dark rainy day. The irony. 🙂 So I told the kids “today, we’re going to need to make our own sunshine!” The pics in this post were part of my “sunshine-making” today!

This post is part of my 31 Days series: Embracing Autumn- So long Seasonal Affective Disorder!  (Find complete list of posts here). You can subscribe to receive my posts daily in your email. Just pop over to my homepage, and type in your email in the little box on the right! Big SHOUT-OUT to the NESTER, for hosting this fun blog challenge again this year! Be sure to check out the other great series being posted by all of my fellow-bloggers here!

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7 thoughts on “Day 4: Think: Inner Sunshine

  1. oh, i LOVE this!!! in fact, my post today talks a bit about rainy days and giving up on them 🙂 i linked this day and then your whole series at the end because it was so fitting. i am both excited for you to have discovered these things, and excited for us who are reading to benefit from what you’ve learned.
    thanks so much for sharing!!!
    steph

  2. Carol, if you have never had your vitamin D tested, I definitely would! (Unless you live near the equator!) 🙂

  3. Yes, I agree, and I’m glad you include this. I found out two winters ago that I was seriously deficient and I was amazed at how much supplementing helped. I am also headed in to get my thyroid rechecked in a week, so this was a good reminder to throw my vitamin D level on the lab sheet as well.

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