the sunny vitamin

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Nature is incredible.  I love how when autumn starts, we are provided with fresh oranges and mandarins to ensure our Vitamin C intake.  When spring begins, the hours of daylight become longer, indicating that winter has come to end and it is time to get our hibernating bodies out into the sunshine.  Why is it important that we do this?  Because our Vitamin D levels are low and need to be replenished.  And lucky for us, mother nature provides a great source for Vitamin D to be made in our skin for us direct from the sun.  We also can access great vitamin D from food and supplement sources.  We are slowly heading in Autumn, so we all need to ensure good vitamin D levels and continue to build them.

BENEFITS OF VITAMIN D

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We need it…recent research is showing it is one of the most beneficial vitamins for our health.  It is very important to make sure your muscles, heart, lungs and brain can work well, and incredibly vitamin D contributes to this.   A one stop shop for building stronger bones, protecting against disease, enhancing our immune systems, treating numerous disorders and ensuring optimal health and well-being.

As explained at The vitamin D Council :The vitamin D that you get in your skin from sunlight, and the vitamin D from supplements, has to be changed by your body a number of times before it can be used. Once it’s ready, your body uses it to manage the amount of calcium in your blood, bones and gut and to help cells all over your body to communicate properly.

HOW CAN I MAKE SURE MY CHILD GETS ENOUGH VITAMIN D?vitamin-d3-sun

Our clever bodies make vitamin D when our bare skin is exposed to sunlight, and it happens in less time than it take to make our skin go pink (we do not want our skin to go pink!).  Best time for this to happen is the morning time, between 8am and 10am, before harmful UV rays begin to be at dangerous levels.  The more skin you can expose the better.  It won’t happen if you put sunscreen or moisturiser on your skin beforehand either, the skin needs to be completely bare.

It’s pretty scary exposing your childs precious skin to direct sunlight, it’s so new and perfect!  It has been drilled into us to avoid the sun at all cost, cover up, slip slop slap.  Follow your instinct, if you feel a small amount of sunlight for a short amount of time will benefit your child, go for it.  Gradual exposure is better than hard-hitting them when the summer months come.  I found this great article explaining about getting vitamin d from the sun.

Food glorious food.  We have food that is fortified with vitamin D, but we can’t guarantee the source, the quality and the quantity of vitamin D.  Butter naturally contains high levels of vitamin d, especially pasture/grass feed cows in New Zealand (so go organic NZ butter!).  Eggs are another natural source with good levels a vitamin d, again choose organic, free range or even better biodynamic farmed eggs.  Happy chickens lay better eggs!  Fresh oily fish, not farmed (once again avoiding grain fed fish) provide a good source of vitamin d.  Organ meats contain great levels of vitamin D, and kids love pate (truly they do) and here is a great recipe from Bubbayumyum.

Some other food sources of vitamin D

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Supplements.  A good quality, trusted supplement can go a long way in ensuring your children really get a good dose of vitamin D.  You can start as early as birth, even if breast-feeding.  Although breast milk does supply some vitamin D, depending on your stores, often this is not enough.  You can get your blood level of vitamin D tested by your GP, be mindful this is at a cost.  Visit your local health store for a good quality vitamin D supplement, and ask for specific dosing for your child.  Remember to get some for yourself too.  I do recommend Bioceuticals Vitamin D3 drops Forte.

Photos curtesy of google images, permission not granted from artists as unable to find them

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