Are you getting enough sun?

Alive and Aware -  Patti Sliwany
Alive and Aware –
Patti Sliwany

It’s that time of year when you just want to curl up and snuggle with a warm blanket and a cup of tea. But don’t forget all about what those sunny rays used to do for you.
“Because Vitamin D is so cheap and so clearly reduces all-cause mortality, I can say this with great certainty: Vitamin D represents the single most cost-effective medical intervention in Canada,” says Dr. Greg Plotnikoff, medical director for the Penny George Institute for Health and Healing at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis.
Here’s what you need to know about that clever Vitamin D.
Vitamin D2 is made by plants; and Vitamin D3 is made when the skin is exposed to the sun.
Foods can be altered to have Vitamin D2 or D3 in them. As always, the natural source is the best, but if that’s not possible (like at this frigid time of year), you can also get them in supplements.
Vitamin D’s job is to maintain normal blood levels of phosphorous and calcium. It helps calcium to be absorbed which helps form and keep your bones strong.
There has been recent research that shows that Vitamin D can help protect against a whole host of issues like high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, skin, kidney and blood diseases, diabetes and endocrine disorders, mental disorders, cancer, and some autoimmune diseases.
They are also finding that there is a huge population that is Vitamin D3 deficient that needs to take supplements since they don’t get enough sun exposure. (Sound familiar?)
In the summer, try to make a special effort to go sit outside in the sun and read for 30 minutes a day (like you need an excuse!). Or if you’ve got a busy work schedule, you can get a walk in in the morning before you go to work, and before the sun comes up and it gets too hot.
In the wintertime, you can stay where it’s warm – cozy and hibernating under heaps of blankets while taking supplements – but in the spring and fall, you have absolutely no excuse! If you see you are not getting enough sun exposure, even in the hot months, don’t be afraid to keep taking your supplements.
It is important that what you are taking is Vitamin D3 and not just a D supplement. If you are taking Vitamin D3, it is important to know that there are other vitamins you need to take in order to be able to absorb and metabolize Vitamin D3; those include magnesium, Vitamin A, Vitamin K, boron and zinc.
Patricia Sliwany is a board-certified holistic nutritionist, and founder of Alive & Aware Holistic Health. Alive & Aware offers workshops, lunch-and-learn series, and three- to 12-month individual or group coaching initiatives for those who want to take charge of their health and prevent disease. To find out which program meets the needs of you or your organization, please visit, or contact Patti at or 204-997-2031.

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