Wellness Wednesday: Get Yo’ Vitamin D!

Good Morning & HAPPY WELLNESS WEDNESDAY! We are having a beautiful week over here in Chicago and I am loving every second of it. I woke up this morning, got in the car for my drive to work,  blared some Irish folk music (am I turning into my dad? Hi dad!) & got plenty of Vitamin D.

We talked last week about all about getting outside and walking. Aside from managing your weight and improving your mood, walking (specifically outside) helps you get your daily dose of Vitamin D! What is Vitamin D? I’m glad you asked! Today’s Wellness Wednesday is all about my favorite vitamin!

So, before I tell you about all of the benefits of Vitamin D, I gotta let you in on a little secret: it’s not actually a vitamin. Vitamins cannot be produced by the body and thus must be acquired through diet or supplements (like, your daily multi-vitamin or eating spinach, for example). Vitamin D, on the other hand, is actually produced by your body with a little help from our dear friend, Mr. Sun.

vitamin d

Benefits of Vit D

Alright, now that we’ve got the vitamin debate settled, let’s talk benefits. I think it’ll be clear as to why this is my favorite “vitamin” 😉

  • Healthy bones! Calcium gets all the credit when it comes to preventing osteoporosis and keeping your bones healthy but truth be told, vitamin D plays just as big of a role. You can eat all the calcium-rich foods in the world but if you’re not getting enough vitamin D, it doesn’t really matter. You see, Vitamin D helps to absorb the calcium you digest so that it can be used (and not discarded as waste). Cool, right? Right.
  • Ward off depression! No, sunshine and vitamin D won’t rid you of clinically diagnosed depression. However, it can definitely help you start to feel better (along with your regular treatment plan). And maybe you’re not depressed but you’re having a rough day at work, with the kids, with your spouse, whatever: go outside. Get some sunlight and feel better about things. I mean, is there anything better than feeling the warm sunshine on your skin? I can’t think of anything.
  • Prevents cancer?! Say what?! It’s true. Well, sorta. Studies have shown that calcitriol (the hormonal version of vitamin D) can slow the development and growth of blood vessels in cancerous tissues. It can also increase the rate of cancer cell death. Dope, right?
So… how do we get it?

The good news is, is that Vitamin D is seemingly easy to get enough of. All you have to do is step outside, sunscreen free (this is key!!), for a few minutes every day. The bad news is, is that vitamin D has a half-life of about 2 weeks. This means that if your vitamin D stores are full, they’ll be depleted within 2 weeks if you don’t get some sun.

Now, I don’t know about where you live, but sunshine is alarmingly difficult to come across in the middle of a Chicago winter. It seems we go months without seeing sunlight. It’s really sad (and downright depressing, quite literally). This is why so many people are advocates of sun lamps & mid-winter beach vacations (Florida, anyone?).

Well, it’s a good thing you can get vitamin D from food, too! In the photo above, you’ll see that you can get vitamin D from eggs, salmon, mushrooms, cheese, and fortified foods like milk. Drink up!

So with summer winding down, make sure you soak up all of the sunshine. And I mean all of it! Get in all the goodness that comes from Vitamin D. And this winter? Make sure you get outside, even if it’s just a few minutes, while the sun is out. It’s good for your body and your mood 🙂

And that’s all for this Wellness Wednesday – enjoy the rest of your week!