There’s nothing like a warm, sunny day as we transition from winter into spring. If you ask around, most people will say that sunshine just makes them feel happy. There’s got to be some science behind that universal feeling, right? You bet there is.
Sunshine is one of the BEST ways for us to get vitamin D, one of the ESSENTIAL vitamins and minerals. Why is that? Believe it or not, vitamin D is actually a steroid hormone and is activated by sunlight. When your body is exposed to sunlight (more specifically, the ultraviolet rays of light), it produces and converts a chemical within our skin into the active form of vitamin D, calcitriol (you can thank your liver and kidneys for support in this process).
There are a number of health benefits to getting sufficient vitamin D, including:
Assisting in calcium absorption
Building and maintaining strong teeth and bones
Enhanced immune system function
Stronger muscle function and brain activity
Help in managing blood sugar levels
Since this nutrient is unique, it’s difficult to find it naturally occurring in food sources. Fatty fish (like salmon, mackerel or sardines), shrimp and egg yolks are some of the best sources of vitamin D in food. You can also find vitamin D that has been fortified (i.e. synthetically added or enriched) in breads, breakfast cereals, milk, yogurt and juices. Take caution when relying on these sources for vitamin D and watch for high sugar content and other processed ingredients.
If you struggle to get outside for longer periods of time or live in a place where sunshine isn’t as common, you may want to consider taking a vitamin D supplement. It’s always recommended to consult with a doctor before taking a supplement to ensure that you are taking the right type and amount for YOUR body.
Questions about vitamin D or supplementation? Reach out to us, we are happy to help!