Vitamin D deficiency is common in northern climates, particularly in the winter. In fact, the body does not produce vitamin D from the sun during winter anywhere north of Atlanta Georgia. Vitamin D is involved with bone, immune system, mood, and implicated in diabetes, cancer, and other auto-immune conditions.
The best source of vitamin D is the sun, but with the promotion of sunscreen that blocks all of the sun’s rays, even the beneficial ones, combined with the lack of winter sunshine, poses many people at risk of deficiency.
You can check if you are vitamin D deficient by a simple blood test. It is best to check in the fall after the summer to see if you have accumulated enough stores to circulate in the blood from the summer sun’s rays. And then again in the spring, to see if your stores made it through the winter.
If you are deficient, the best way to replenish is either through supplementation or through light therapy.
There are two forms of supplemental vitamin D. One is called ergocalciferol and one is cholecalciferol. The second one is the one you want. Sublingual forms are best absorbed. Food sources of vitamin D, such as cod liver oil and fish, and milk or milk substitutes that are fortified with vitamin D, are not sufficient; although still good to take.
Light therapy is another way to get vitamin D, particularly in people with Crohn’s Diseases or Colitis where absorption is a factor. Sunlamps and Sperti lamps emit UVB rays necessary for vitamin D (UVA rays do not emit vitamin D). These lamps are quite pricey, but well worth the investment for quality of life and prevention.
Other light therapies, such as Philips goLITE BLU and the Litebook Elite, do not emit any UV rays. However, the benefit of light therapy, by way of a strong LED light emitting to the eyes, in general, and during the winter improves energy, sleep and the circadian rhythm, mood, and possible other health concerns.
And so, a combination of oral vitamin D and a relatively inexpensive light therapy is a good way to go!