What rolls around twice a year, in August and February?August being the hottest month of the year and February one of the coldest (not to mention darkest times of the year). If you guessed my Vitamin D testing you would be ever so correct, so let’s delve in to this year’s results.
When should Vitamin D levels be their highest?
I have another question for you my educated and informed readers? If you were given a multiple choice questionnaire about Vitamin D and one question was “When will your Vitamin D levels be their highest?” Possible answers: A) June B) February C) October or D) August. What would your answer be? Hint: at 45 degrees latitude we form Vitamin D on our skin from May through the first of September, period.
If I didn’t have evidence to disprove it, I would answer D) August. By that time of the summer you have been outside a lot. Also in August there are some cooler days, so you might actually be outside more. You have exposed unprotected skin to the rays of the sun when it is at its most powerful D producing position. It will have been close enough to Earth for 2 months in August and your D levels should be maxed out.
But the answer is……
Well that would be the wrong answer. I have proof looking me right in the eye (Or is my eye looking right at the proof?). I have my test results for 3 years and for all three years my Vitamin D levels are their highest in B) February.
Here is the list of my results starting in August 2009 (with the same acceptable range for all three years of 32-100 ng/ml):
- August 2009- 64 ng/ml
- March 2010- 92 ng/ml
- August 2010- 58 ng/ml
- March 2011- 70 ng/ml
- August 2011- 56 ng/ml
- February 2012- 70 ng/ml (actual time-tested was the same but the lab got the result back to me earlier this year).
I am consistently higher in the winter and one winter I even had my levels where I would like them at 90 ng/ml. Why 90 ng/ml? Simply put, because I have an autoimmune disease (Hashimoto’s thyroiditis). Unfortunately, try as I might, I can’t seem to achieve that 90 ng/ml again but 70 is very acceptable and in the high end of the acceptable range.
How does a person achieve good winter-time results?
You probably know how I achieve my good winter D levels if you have been reading my blog for any period of time. For those who haven’t been tuning in my blog every Monday morning, I use a healthy tanning system, the Sunsplash Renew, sold on Mercola.com to get my levels up to 70 ng/ml in the winter.
I stand in front of the light panel for 10-20 minutes three times a week, dancing and singing to Michael Bublé or listening to Krispin Sullivan talk about Omega 3 oils, and it keeps my Vitamin D levels almost perfect in the winter. I do this without clothing and after a shower, so my skin is clean and free of lotions. I do not shower for 24 hours post tanning session and I do not use soap on my stomach for 36 hours (belly skin is the best at producing Vitamin D).
The Sunsplash Renew has pink lights in the region of your face that protect the delicate facial skin from any damaging ultraviolet light, and, in fact, the pink lights are supposed to rejuvenate your facial skin. I can honestly say I don’t see that particular benefit in my aging facial skin but it isn’t doing any harm either. The light panel also does not tan my skin with anything other than the lightest tan but I am quite fair and I take 4 mg of Astaxanthan every day which may have some bearing on its tanning effects.
Why use a Sunsplash Renew?
Dr. Mercola recommends tanning lights for building Vitamin D but he does not recommend normal tanning light because they emit x-rays at the ends of the bulbs and as we all know x-rays can be hazardous to your health. The tanning systems he sells on his site produce UVA and UVB (the spectrum that tans and produces Vitamin D on your skin) without the harmful x-ray emission. One set of lights they sell won’t tan (the D-Lite System) just in case you are a person who doesn’t want the tanning capability.
What else can you do to achieve optimal D levels?
In the summer I expose my bare skin to the midday sun for 20 minutes and I do not shower it off. I try to do it three times a week and I garden in as little clothing as possible, so even more sunlight exposure, but I garden in the morning and that sunlight is not the best. However, you see for yourself that the results in the summer are not as good as my winter results using the Sunsplash Renew light system.
This past winter, I did take supplemental Vitamin D as well. I didn’t take it all the time but when I did I took 5000 mg capsules and I would take it with Vitamin A (the retinol form as people with thyroid disease do not absorb the beta-carotene form very well).
If I had what appeared to be cold-like symptoms coming on I would take a megadose of Vitamin D for at least 24 hours and generally that was a 5000 mg capsule three or four times a day for the first day. Any cold-like symptoms would come and go within three days with the worst of it lasting less than 24 hours. I normally don’t get colds at all but I think my adorable grandson exposes me to germs to which I had become unfamiliar. I am now more familiar with those particular germs.
Supplemental Vitamin D taken alone or as part of cod liver oil supplementation is more risky than producing it on your skin with sunlight or tanning lights. Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin which means it is stored in fat and if you get too much it is hard to get rid of the excess. If you take supplemental D you really should test your D levels at least once a year to make sure you have not overdosed on D. If you use the sun or a safe tanning system to achieve optimal D you will never overdose as your body can take care of the D it produces.
It is expensive to achieve optimal Vitamin D levels with a tanning system like the one Mercola.com sells* but can we really put a price tag on good health? More and more scientific evidence is pointing to disease prevention by keeping your D levels optimum.
There are several studies pointing to breast cancer prevention with proper D levels. We know Rickets is preventable with proper Vitamin D levels. Afraid of the flu? Don’t vaccinate, use a Sunsplash Renew or take 8000 ius of Vitamin D per day probably all year. Afraid of osteoporosis? Take your D or use a safe tanning option year round. Parkinson’s, MS, you name it, more and more they have scientific evidence to prove (for those who need the studies to prove effectiveness) the importance of optimal levels of Vitamin D.
Test your D levels. It is cheap, as blood tests go, and it doesn’t require a doctor’s prescription. Once you know your levels you can adjust your sun exposure or the supplements you take to optimize your D and your health.
* I am not advertising nor getting any monetary reward for recommending the Sunsplash Renew. I simply want my readers to know what has worked very well for me.