Sunshine and Silhouettes

One of my favorite aspects of Saipan is the sun.  I consider myself “solar powered.”

And as a collective society – we are NOT getting enough sunlight! Even here in Saipan and Guam.  Therefore, most of us are not producing enough of that sun-shiny happy-making Vitamin D that comes with it.  You can’t know for sure if you’re deficient in Vitamin D without your doctor doing a blood test, but most of us probably aren’t spending enough time outside these days.  And, even if you are, and article in Scientific America shows that during the winter months, many people in the US (especially the northern states) just don’t get the UVB rays we need even when the sun IS out.

Check out this crazy list of things that Vitamin D is good for:

  • Help optimize calcium metabolism
  • Help optimize phosphorus metabolism
  • Help prevent type 2 diabetes, insulin resistance, high blood pressure, heart attack, congestive heart failure, and stroke
  • Help prevent falls and muscle weakness
  • Help prevent osteoporosis while maintaining bone integrity
  • Help regulate insulin activity and blood sugar balance
  • Help regulate immune system responses
  • Help regulate muscle composition and muscle function
  • Help regulate blood pressure
  • Lower risk of excessive inflammation
  • Lower risk of some bacterial infections
  • Support cognitive function, especially in older persons
  • Support mood stability, especially in older persons
  • Help prevent chronic fatigue
  • Help prevent the following types of cancer: bladder, breast, colon, ovarian, prostate and rectal

That is one heck of a list!  The Vitamin D Council adds that, “Current research has implicated vitamin D deficiency as a major factor in the pathology of at least 17 varieties of cancer as well as heart disease, stroke, hypertension, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, depression, chronic pain, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, muscle weakness, muscle wasting, birth defects, periodontal disease, and more.”

The RDA for Vitamin D for the average healthy adult is 600 IU (International Units) but the Vitamin D Council states, “If well adults and adolescents regularly avoid sunlight exposure, research indicates a necessity to supplement with at least 5,000 units (IU) of vitamin D daily. To obtain this amount from milk one would need to consume 50 glasses. With a multivitamin more than 10 tablets would be necessary. Neither is advisable.

So what do you do?  Try to get more sun, for one thing!

But it’s hard to say for sure.  Without knowing your levels, it’s hard to know if you should supplement, and if so, how much.  You may want to check with your doctor, but also know that sun is a healthy dose of natural help.  (And keep up on the fresh produce – that’s your natural sun protection!)

And as the sun goes down, you may not be able to get those beneficial UVB rays for Vitamin D, but you sure can enjoy the beauty and have fun playing with silhouettes!

Stay sunny!

Published by Kate Cline, RD

Registered Dietitian with a focus on Gut Health, Inflammation, and Functional Nutrition. Personal Trainer with a focus on corrective exercise. Yoga teacher, traveler, empowerment coach.

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