Do you remember summer? Stage 3 water restrictions? Record setting number of sunny days? I know, that was some distant dream. Now, it’s dark, cold and wet. Every day. And you can feel it slowing down your body and brain.

You’ve probably heard about Vitamin D for preventing autoimmune conditions, cancer or bone loss but here are a few things you might not have heard about and a few reasons Vitamin D is part of my winter survival kit.

Like the rest of nature, our bodies thrive in sunlight. In fact, our hormones depend on it. Like estrogen and cortisol, Vitamin D is a vital hormone that communicates with multiple organs.rainwindow

  1. Mood Booster

We’ve all experienced the mood-enhancing effect of a sunny day. One study showed a moderate dose of Vitamin D improved mood during winter after only 5 days of supplementation.

  1. Thyroid Partner

90% of people with autoimmune thyroid conditions have difficulty processing Vitamin D (and that’s with many of us already lacking in Vitamin D!) So make sure your thyroid and metabolism is supported with enough Vitamin D during this cold season.

  1. Immune Superstar

Vitamin D is a powerful immune modulator. Studies suggest Vitamin D slows down lung inflammation while enhancing our defense system against cold and flu bugs – a must in your winter survival kit!

  1. Captain Blood Sugar

Vitamin D, taken with calcium, slows down rises in blood sugar in people with prediabetes. Our population as a whole, already consumes quite a bit of starchy carbohydrates. And now that we’re heading into the holiday season this is a good time to ask: what else can I do to improve my blood sugar levels?

In the Vancouver area, we only make a maximum of ~ 10,000 IU per day of Vitamin D from the sun and that’s only during the summer (due to the rotation of the sun on a tilted axis). Of course, many of us make much less due to our indoor-oriented lives, sunscreen use, etc.

On top of that, Vitamin D in food isn’t helping much: fortified dairy and orange juice contain 100 IU of Vitamin D or less per cup (and no, let’s NOT drink 10 cups of either of these in one day…) Therefore summer sun exposure is the main source of vitamin D for those who don’t supplement. As a result, in the winter, Vitamin D levels can get quite low.

birdsFor many with Vitamin D deficiency (that’s 97% of Canadians at some point in the year), a moderate dose of 1000-2000 IU is sufficient to gradually improve and maintain levels. If you’re considering larger doses for more than a few days, check your Vitamin D (25 OH Vitamin D3) and calcium levels first.

To be clear, sunlight is much more than Vitamin D: UVB light not only triggers Vitamin D it also triggers nitric oxide linked to better blood pressure and heart health. And sunlight during the day promotes healthy melatonin production at night for better sleep and circadian rhythms. So even if you’re already taking Vitamin D, next time we have that rare sunny day, bundle up, head outside and soak up these other health benefits too.

At Brio, we use the more potent D3 form of Vitamin D. Take 1-2 capsules per day with food.  The month of November 2015 is a good time to restock your winter survival kit – the 90 capsule D-1000 bottle is 10% off!

We also have a limited number of emulsified Vitamin D as part of the new Immune Boost Kit. I love the emulsified drops – it’s convenient to take (just one or two drops in your mouth – no water required) and it’s compact so I can keep it in my purse. Come in and check out both of these! We want to help the Brio community stay healthy throughout the winter!


In health,

Dr. Carin


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