Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Flu, Losing Sunlight & Vitamin D

The days are getting shorter and colder for us here in the northern hemisphere.  This means less natural light.  Coincidentally, this is also cold and flu season.  Actually, a scientific study has connected the lack of sunlight and the natural vitamin D that it gives us to increased illness.  There is no coincidence that less daylight brings a rise in illness.

The flu is one of the biggest health worries in the winter season. It is also known that people's vitamin D levels decrease in the fall and winter.  Vitamin D is a miracle nutrient that helps to build immunity, reduce inflammation, help sleep cycles, promotes healthy hormone balance, build strong bones, stabilizes body weight and more.

To get adequate vitamin D from sunlight, large amounts of skin need to be exposed to sunlight in the peak hours of the day.  This is hard to do even in the summer because people are working and fully dressed during the peak hours.  But it is more likely than in the winter when getting the proper sunlight is nearly impossible.

It seems that a person having nutritionally sound levels of vitamin D will have stronger immunity to resist getting the flu and recovering sooner from the flu. An optimal level is between of 50–80 ng/mL.  Basic supplementation of 1000 IU a day is a good start, but vitamin D levels should be checked yearly.  Many people need more than the basic amount.

In Ayurveda, winter is vata season. One of the ways to balance vata is to increase our intake of healthy fats like ghee, olive oil, nuts avocado, fish and coconut oil.  Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin that is best absorbed with some fat.  So, take your vitamin D with meals, especially ones with these good fat sources.

Stay healthy & well,
Lisa

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