Yesterday was a glorious day! The temperature was close to 60 degrees, and the sun was shining. What a wonderful gift for the end of February. My husband went out to cut up a fallen tree into firewood for our woodstove, our main source of heat. I went out to help. Initially, I wore a long john shirt with a long sleeve turtle neck shirt over it, topped by a jacket. Too warm! I took off the two shirts, and ended up with just a t-shirt, no jacket.
My job, as assigned by my husband, was to lop off the smaller branches from the tree, while he cut up the larger parts of the tree with a chainsaw. While doing this, I also cut down some thorny bushes that were in the area. Our property seems to be getting taken over by thorny things (blackberry, wild rose and something else, the name of which I have forgotten). I try pulling them up by the roots every chance I get, but they grow faster than I can pull.
So, on to our topic, making vitamin D. Our bodies make vitamin D with exposure to sun. In this northern area, where much of our year is too cold to be outside exposing our skin to the sun, the majority of Americans don’t have sufficient vitamin D in their bodies. Low level of this vitamin is being implicated in all kinds of things, including autoimmune syndromes. My doctor has me taking 2000 mg of vitamin D per day. This has brought my levels up to the current standards, but doctors are revising what those standards are, as well as what a daily dosage should be.
Another complicating factor in getting enough vitamin D is the use of sunscreen. We are being told that we should wear sunscreen whenever we go out in the sun to prevent cancer. Sunscreen may help protect out skin from developing cancer, but it also blocks the sun’s rays from reaching the skin, hampering the skin’s ability to produce vitamin D. I have seen some recommendations that we should go outside for 10 minutes a day, exposing our arms and faces to the sun, without sunscreen. If we plan to be outside longer than that, we can put on the sunscreen after the 10 minute exposure.
Yesterday I was outside for two hours, without sunscreen, with my arms and face exposed. The sun was in a position where it did not burn the skin (time of day? time of year?) I wonder how much vitamin D I made. I don’t know how that would be calculated, but I can tell you that I feel great. Being in the sun brings a smile to my face, and working outdoors makes me feel strong and healthy. I don’t even have any aches from the work I did. Wow!
The temperature has been descending all day today. When the northern world warms up again, plan to go outside. Spend a little time in the sun. Absorb some rays, and make some vitamin D.