Where's the sunshine #YEG? Autumn brings beautiful colors and crisp weather. But the season also brings fewer daylight hours, and when the sun does shine, it's at a lower angle. For Canadians, these changes can lead to vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin D serves several important functions in the body including promoting calcium absorption, maintaining normal calcium and phosphate levels, promoting bone and cell growth and reducing inflammation.
What are the symptoms of vitamin D deficiency?
There are several factors that contribute to the rising incidence of vitamin D deficiency:
- wearing sunscreen (sunscreen blocks the sun's ability to stimulate vitamin D production).
- not spending enough time outside
- having dark pigmented skin, which won't absorb the sun's rays as well.
- some people are born with the ability to process vitamin D. Other people have medical conditions that keep them from digesting vitamin D well.
Vitamin D deficiency does not always cause symptoms until levels get very low or have been low for some time. Some of the symptoms may include:
- difficulty thinking clearly
- bone pain
- frequent bone fractures
- muscle weakness
- unexplained fatigue
- soft bones
- high blood pressure
- restless sleep
Despite its name, vitamin D is not a regular vitamin. It's actually a steroid hormone that you are designed to obtain primarily through sun exposure, not via your diet. There are very few foods that actually have therapeutic levels of vitamin D naturally and even fortified foods do not contain enough vitamin D to support your health needs. Food sources include: salmon, sardines, tuna, eggs, shiitake mushrooms.
More and more scientific evidence is emerging confirming that the current recommended daily allowance of vitamin D is grossly insufficient. To achieve healthy blood levels of vitamin D, most adults will need more like EIGHT THOUSAND units of vitamin D every day. However, don't take more than 4,000 IUs per day without talking to your doctor first.
The only way to determine the correct dose is to get your blood tested. However, Vitamin D testing is no longer available through Alberta Health Services here in Edmonton. A naturopath can provide this test through a private lab for you at a minimal cost. I can also recommend professional-grade supplements to help you keep an optimal level of this "sunshine vitamin" and give you the most protective benefit.
Don't deprive yourself of this essential vitamin. Contact me for more information.
In the meantime, I'm sharing the Sunshine Sardine Omelette Recipe to help boost those vitamin D levels.
Sardines may not appeal to everyone in this recipe, but they may be just what the doctor ordered. Sardines are one of the best foods sources of vitamin D. One small tin can of sardines will provide you with approximately 70% of your daily needs. These tiny canned fish are also a great source for vitamin B12, omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and selenium. Enjoy!
- 4 Eggs
- 1 can sardines
- 1 scallion/green onion, chopped
- 1⁄2 white onion, finely chopped
- 1⁄4 cup sundried tomatoes or diced small tomatoes
- 1⁄4 cup shiitake mushrooms, chopped
- 1⁄4 cup green or red bell pepper
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 2 tbs coconut oil or olive oil or organic ghee
- 1 tbs water
- 1 cup baby spinach
Make it Like So
- Scramble eggs with a little water in a bowl.
- Add all seasoning (black pepper, ground turmeric, Italian seasoning) to the egg mixture and whisk.
- Heat oil in pan and saute the onion, scallion, mushrooms and bell pepper.
- Add tomato, sardine, baby spinach to the vegetable saute.
- Let the omelette brown on one side then flip over (or scramble) and cook until firm.
- Serve with avocado or other veggies on the side.