Is Anyone NOT Low on Vitamin D in Upstate New York?
Known as "the Sunshine Vitamin," Vitamin D is an essential nutrient for bone health and general wellness. But with the amount of sun we get here in Upstate New York, are we all low on Vitamin D?
I recently went for my annual let's-see-how-close-to-death-I-am checkup, and my doctor wanted to run a blood test. Thankfully everything was pretty much normal, except my Vitamin D. My Vitamin D values were 28 nanograms per milliliter. The standard range is 31-100 ng/mL.
I'd be lying if I said I was shocked. I've had blood tests in the past with similar readings. My girlfriend, likewise, said her recent blood lab revealed low Vitamin D. Which just begs the question... who isn't low on Vitamin D?
It's not like we're complete couch potatoes. We're... fairly active, all things considered. We get out for the occasional hike. A jog is not completely off limits. And I certainly soak up the sun during outdoor beer festivals.
I mean, yes, admittedly, when winter hits, there's a lot more movies, TV and video games getting consumed. I *could* embrace more outdoor winter activities, but I'm also not a raving psychopath.
NEARLY HALF OF ALL AMERICANS ARE LOW ON VITAMIN D
According to a study from 2018, 42% of Americans are low on Vitamin D. Premenopausal women, the elderly, people with darker skin, and couch potato Caucasians are all at higher risk.
The summer months are naturally a better time to increase sun exposure, but you have to do it safely. "Oh, I burn easily" is a typical excuse people use to stay out of the sun. While that may be true, it's still important to be out there once in awhile. Just slather on some SPF, ya dingus!
VITAMIN D - NOT JUST FROM THE SUN
Roasting in the sun is not the only way to get your D. Eating more fish is probably the best source of D3, but since Upstate New Yorkers aren't near an ocean, a lot of us didn't grow up being the biggest seafood fans.
Luckily, if you drink orange juice or milk -- dairy, or plant-based -- you can usually get vitamin D-fortified versions.
VITAMIN D IS CRUCIAL FOR MOOD
Many medical professionals tout a link between depression and low Vitamin D levels. So if you're prone to seasonal winter depression, it's something you gotta keep an eye on.. but what a catch-22 that is, right? You need the sun more in the winter, when it's just... not there.
But if the idea of being outside in the winter makes your skin crawl, and you aren't the biggest seafood fan, then consider getting an over-the-counter Vitamin D supplement.