Vitamin D, the Sunshine Vitamin

Vitamin D, the Sunshine Vitamin

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Vitamin D is referred to as the sunshine vitamin because your body produces it naturally when your skin absorbs direct sunlight. Just 30 minutes per day of direct sunlight is enough to achieve this. Even through a window! I remember (30 years ago now) my pediatrician advising me to put my son’s crib (or napping area) in front of a window to catch the healthy rays of sunshine. This is especially important for babies born in the winter when getting them outside with their skin exposed is more difficult if not dangerous. Especially if you experience the frigid climates we do here in Canada.


  • creates strong bones and teeth
  • prevents depression by regulating moods, and helps with anxiety
  • reduces the risk of heart disease, MS, and some forms of cancer
  • boosts immune function, prevents colds and influenza
  • boosts weight loss goals by suppressing appetite

Deficiency Symptoms

  • depression and/or anxiety, mood swings
  • hip, leg or pelvic stress fractures
  • muscle pain or weakness
  • bone pain and/or osteoporosis
  • fatigue, general malaise

Food Sources of Natural Vitamin D

  • salmon
  • egg yolks
  • shrimp
  • sardines

Fortified Food Sources of Vitamin D

Since there are very few foods that naturally contain Vitamin D, fortified products like milk, cereals, yogurt and orange juice are readily available to boost your daily dosage.


A thirty minute break for sunshine is easier said than done for many of us with busy lives. Thirty minutes outside may just not be a luxury your daily schedule permits. Another obstacle is the fact that the darker your skin tone is, the less your skin can absorb the beneficial effects of the sunshine. If either impediment applies to you, try the Vitamin D drops. You add them to any liquid and drink in the (effects of) sunshine. Not quite the same experience, but apparently they work.

If you do opt for the drops of Vitamin D, choose wisely and ingest only as directed. Keep in mind that animal-based Vitamin D3 is more potent than plant-based D2 version. Both can be toxic if over indulged due to resulting high levels of calcium in the bloodstream. That’s because vitamin D increases calcium adsorption from the foods you eat. Signs of toxicity (too much calcium AKA hypercalcemia) may include nausea, stomach pain, diarrhea, constipation, poor appetite, fatigue and confusion.

In Conclusion

Have you noticed how people get sick and depressed more often during the winter months, especially in countries with cold temperatures? That’s because people stay indoors more when it’s miserably cold, so their skin absorbs less (or absolutely no) immunity and mood boosting Vitamin D. Like hibernating bears, we get cranky and miserable without sunshine.

Just over a bad cold myself, when I think (way) back to the few weeks prior to its onset, I did spend less time outdoors. My excuses included that fact that it was either too cold or too slippery out. It didn’t help that I was busy with a writing project, something I can do in my cozy, warm pjs. Many days I didn’t want to disturb my writing progress by taking the time to bundle up and get outdoors.

Well, I paid for (and learned from) that error in time management (and laziness).

Vitamin D deficiency is extremely common around the world. The benefits of adding it to your daily routine far outweigh the risks, which are not even an issue when correct doses of supplements are taken.

The good news is you cannot overdose on the natural vitamin D your body makes from exposure to sunshine! Credit for the feature (top of page) picture goes to my sister Vickie, living in sunshine on the gulf coast beaches of Texas.

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Political Correctness: Out of Control

John Cleese, the English actor, and comedian of Monty Python fame has a theory on why political correctness is getting out of hand.  Jon Miltimore published this theory on Intellectual Takeout.

Political Correctness Killing Comedy

He’s hardly the first comedian to say so, of course. Funny men such as Jerry Seinfeld, Mel Brooks, and others have complained that political correctness is killing comedy.  Cleese, like Seinfeld, says he no longer performs on America’s college campuses, where political correctness enforcement is particularly strident.

In a recent monologue with Big Think, Cleese said the effort to protect people from negative feelings is not just impractical, but suffocating to a free society.

“The idea that you have to be protected from any kind of uncomfortable emotion is one I absolutely do not subscribe to,” Cleese says.

Cleese, who spoke to psychiatrist Robin Skynner about the phenomenon, posited an interesting theory on why many people feel compelled to control the language and behaviors of others.

“If people can’t control their own emotions, then they have to start trying to control other people’s behavior,” Cleese says.

You can watch the entire monologue below. What do you make of Cleese’s theory? Is he right?

I agree political correctness is getting way out of hand in our culture, and not just comedians are noticing.

Political Correctness in Sports

For example, it is ridiculous that in our children’s sporting events everyone gets the same award, just for participating.  No winners and no losers allowed; treat everyone the same.  Competition is healthy. It should not be discouraged, especially if a child shows interest in an activity.  Kids need to learn that people will be better than others in all of their endeavours.  This includes sports, scholastic abilities, job skills, and any other activity. You excel at some, others not so much.  You learn to win graciously and accept defeat just as graciously.  That is a healthy skill that all kids need to learn.

My three sons were (are) very athletic and good at any sport they chose to play.  Were/are they the best?  No, but they learned to recognize and respect those that were/are better, more successful than they were/are.  This is an important life lesson and important for developing self-esteem.  Sadly, it appears that this valuable lesson is low on the priority list these days.

Anxiety, Depression, and Suicide

It is no small wonder that more teens today suffer from anxiety and depression than ever before. Teen suicide too is rampant, doesn’t it make you wonder if there is a connection to our current excessive demand for political correctness and the rise of anxiety and depression?

Suicide Prevention Hotline (USA and CANADA)
1-800 273 8255
It’s OK not to be OK

Sick and Tired of Being Sick and Tired?


For the past year or so I have noticed a significant decrease in my energy level and suffer from constant “brain fog”.  I can’t seem to concentrate on anything for very long and get distracted very easily.  Most people I complain to shrug and laugh saying “its just age” As just turned 50, I find that hard to swallow. I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired!

Getting Started

A complete physical from my family doctor revealed my iron stores or ferritin levels were very low. As a result, I was put on an iron supplement.  My ferritin level is climbing back up, but still has a long way to go to “normal” levels.  My hormone levels are within the normal range; so I am classified as perimenopausal.  It was suggested by two different doctors that I am suffering from depression.

I also found that hard to believe, so I started digging deeper.

Naturopaths can Help

I found a naturopath online and went to see her.  Although I had to pay for this visit (my health insurance does not cover naturopathic treatments) it was well worth it.  She listened to my “story” and set up a plan. 

She suggested testing for food allergies and/or sensitivities, again at my own expense. The options were to eliminate foods from my diet to see if I felt different/better (which could take months or even years) or a blood test.   I agreed to the blood test and received results within two weeks.

Blood Test Results

I am allergic to asparagus and wheat protein.   Now asparagus is pretty easy to eliminate from my diet, but wheat?  Wheat is in everything!  Luckily I am not allergic to gluten as many others are so my diet isn’t quite as restricted. Most grocery stores sell gluten-free products these days.  I can eat barley, oats, corn, rice, rye, etc. so have switched my pastas and breads to these grains. 

The bonus is, since I quit eating wheat, I have lost approximately ten pounds (most of which I notice has come off my middle) and my cholesterol level has gone down from slightly high to the mid normal range.

Further Investigation

This naturopath referred me to a second one who is also an MD and so can order blood tests etc.  He suggested that although my thyroid test results were normal I may suffer from hypothyroidism. (low thyroid function)  My other symptoms of low blood pressure, fatigue, and the fact that I always feel cold fit this theory.  He suggested treatment with dried thyroid. Although I gave it some consideration, I decided to wait to see if my rising ferritin level and absence of wheat in my diet would make me feel better.  In the meantime, I went to a thyroid specialist who has suggested testing my saliva for adrenal gland function,  stools for dairy and egg sensitivities, and my blood for further thyroid function tests.  

These tests are in progress, stay tuned!

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