Updated: Jan 8, 2020
Have you noticed with summer approaching; longer daylight hours, bright early mornings and lots more sunshine that you have more bounce in your step? I have! :)
This is because energetically we are coming out of the dull slumber of winter and into the vibrant windy energy of spring. Plus there's more sun about and sunshine makes us humans feel happier and it stimulates your body to make Vitamin D, as it's one of your happy hormones :)
Vitamin D also has a strong relationship with our sex hormones. I hold regular health and wellness workshops such as Master your Health and Hormones on the Sunshine Coast.
The interesting thing is that even here on The Sunshine Coast where we have mostly sunny days you would think that our vitamin D levels would be awesome right?! But the truth is they aren't (below 80 nmol, the established optimal level for blood vitamin D)! So why not?
Here are the Factors to Consider 1: Indoor lifestyle and Sunscreen use: We all know the damaging effects of the sun so we cover up when out in the sun. This is important but when we do this we can also prevent ourselves from receiving the beneficial effects of the sun. So my recommendation is to get outside in the sun a few times a week in the early or later hours of the day when the sun isn't damaging and catch a few healthy rays :) The hours between 9:30am-4:00pm are safest.
You can check the UV Index on the day to be more accurate. The range is 0-12 and values above 11 are considered extreme. In Australia, peak daily values in summer are regularly in excess of 12-14, and can reach 16-17 at more northern latitudes! Being out in UV levels below 3 are recommended for vitamin D absorption and are safe.
BUT... It's not as easy as just getting enough sun, as the amount of vitamin D you can produce is affected by these sun factors: season, time of day, ozone amount, latitude, and number of clouds in the sky, even the the temperature of your skin!
However, one great thing to know when it comes to the sun for vitamin D production is that less is more! Prolonged exposure is what causes damage and actually can prevent your body from making vitamin D. Short, regular exposure is key as there is a complex biochemical process that has to occur before Active Vitamin D is produced.
What actually happens during exposure to sunlight is; ultraviolet radiation penetrates into the epidermis of the skin and D3 is synthesized. From here it's converted in the liver to 25-hydroxyvitamin D3, and then again in the kidney to its active form, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3. The level that is checked in your blood is 25-hydroxyvitamin D, which includes vitamin D2 and D3.
2. Kidney and Liver Dysfunction and/or Disease: For the reasons above if your kidneys and liver are not functioning properly then the conversion process is limited. Vitamins and minerals are required for this conversion process so nutritional deficiencies may also play a role here too.
Medications: A wide variety of medications, including antibiotics, antifungal medications, anticonvulsants, anti-inflammatory drugs (corticosteroids) etc can enhance the breakdown of vitamin D and lead to low levels.
How Does Vitamin D Deficiency Affect Your Hormones?
Vitamin D affects insulin sensitivity (insulin is a hormone that regulates your blood sugar levels).
D3 also plays a role in regulating mineral concentration in the blood particularly calcium and it also balances the immune system.
The adrenal glands and the hormones they produce are also dependent on adequate levels of vitamin D to function. When we experience long-term stress adrenal problems can occur leading to low progesterone and this can cause problems with our sex hormones, contributing to PMS symptoms, endometriosis and breast cancer.
Vitamin D also has a significant connection with our mood. It's thought that vitamin D has a role in making our neurotransmitters such as GABA, serotonin and dopamine.
Where to get Vitamin D from Through Your Diet: Vitamin D is stored in the fat of other animals so eggs, fish, liver, grass fed organic butter plus mushrooms, will help increase your vitamin D levels naturally.
To speak to me about how Vitamin D or other issues may be affecting your mood or causing hormone imbalances, why not give me a call or send an email my way.