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'D-up': Your vitamin D Supplement may be Going to Waste this Winter.

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      In the colder seasons it can be hard to want to go out in the cold weather for fifteen minutes, much less a whole day. Our bodies tend to pack on a little extra at this time of year and require a more dense diet that consists of carbs and proteins from meat in a higher proportion than we'd usually need. This is our body's natural way of compensating for a sudden change in external climate, and it's done to maintain the natural processes that they need to sustain to keep us healthy. The change in diet usually brings a different set of vitamins and minerals into the picture and affects the way our immune system fight infection, but one vitamin that is absolutely necessary for overall health year-round declines in abundance due to the change in climate.
      Vitamin D is an extremely important component in a healthy and fully functional person's diet. It can improve the ability to fight off infections, clear toxins from the body passively, and serve as a barrier between us and the elements. However, statistics indicate that more than half of U.S. citizens suffer from a vitamin D deficiency and 60% percent of pregnant women taken from that sample are deficient, which can effect the health of their unborn children. Many people are unware that they may have this deficiency, or those that do are unsure of what preventative steps to take to improve the levels of vitamin D in their bodies. Many think that just taking a supplement will correct this problem, but without some additional precautions, they could just be wasting their time and money:
Go Outside.
It could be too could to do it for at least a half hour. Instead go for at least fifteen to twenty minutes a day. Do this after you've had your supplement and a proper meal. This will help your body to metabolize the tablet/sub-lingual drops more quickly and not waste as much of it. Remember, the body produces/takes only what it needs!
 Don't wear sunscreen.
That sounds foolish and dangerous, doesn't it?? Well, unbeknownst to us sunscreen and skincare enthusiasts, even the weakest SPF still blocks out the naturally occurring radiation in UV rays (i.e. that ones needed to tell our bodies to produces vitamin D) by up to 95 percent, making it more difficult for our bodies to get that trigger without an additional supplement in our diets.
No Cheating.
 Sitting in your house, at the gym, or directly in your car window does not 'count'. This is why: Sun rays are incapable of passing through most glass structures. So, even if you do gain two or more shades to your skin from this, or get all toasty, your body may not be reaping the benefits.
Take a supplement.
Most people are wasting their money on vitamins, are you one of them?

If you live in an area further away from the equator with long Cold Seasons, taking a D supplement may help you to counteract any of the negative effects of deprivation in the colder weather. You'll still have to get some kind of exposure to direct sunlight, but the addition of a supplement can lessen the time that you'd normally have to spend in the cold weather. There are many other factors to take into consideration when starting a supplement; people in countries further away from the sun may have to stay out twice as long as those living right at the equatorial line. The caveat here is that even with that being said, people who live in equatorial areas for centuries and have gained a slightly improved resistance to the harmful effect of sun radiation/are descendant of such people may have a harder time producing D than other people.
A Word About the 'diet'
If you have inhibitions about going out into the sunlight without sunscreen in the cold it's completely understandable because at this time it is also much easier to get a sun burn for many people. Others have a long history of cancers in their family and they don't want to over-exert themselves and that's fine too: Just remember to wrap up, but have at least your face out and exposed, an arm, a leg, the palms of your hands, just get some exposure somewhere on your body! AND, eat a lot of food that are high in antioxidants; they've be found to help the body fight of damages from free radical and radiation from the sun, and they can be attained from foods like apples, cherries, pomegranates, cranberries, green tea, black berries, e.t.c..

      To learn more about how your body interacts with vitamins or specifically about the importance of D, seek assistance from a medical professional or licensed dietician, especially if you plan to begin a vitamin supplement or have a history of health problems in your family such as cancer of the skin, breasts, eyes, or diabetes. Never begin a supplement without knowing how it will effect you or if it will!

photo credit: sxc.hu