Vitamin D – Are You Getting Enough?
Vitamin D is a crucial vitamin to have especially if you have an inflammatory bowel disease. Unfortunately, as we all know, our condition puts extra stress on our immune systems.
Not only that but typically the medications that are prescribed lower our ability to fight infections and viruses/bacteria etc. compromising our immunity even more. All in all, our immune system just needs all the help it can get!
How does Vitamin D help to boost the immune system?
Well, Vitamin D is a huge helper in boosting our immune system and in helping to prevent inflammation. Ding, ding, ding! Something all of us with IBD desperately need!
Not only that, but it is also known as the Sunshine Vitamin as it helps keep depression at bay. Serotonin, also known as our "Happy Hormone," is mostly made in our gut. So anyone with IBD suffering from depression is not surprising. And these are just a few things Vitamin D helps with.
What are some ways to increase Vitamin D with Crohn's or UC?
So what is the best way to get your Vitamin D levels up? The answer is simple: the sun! Yes, THE best way to get Vitamin D is through exposure to the sun.
Fish oil is a great source, along with milk and other foods but nothing beats getting it from the sun. Just sitting outside for 10-15 minutes with skin exposed every day would get your Vitamin D levels up to par in no time.
That’s all it takes. And for anyone with IBD, this should be highly considered since this vitamin aids in the very things that are highly compromised due to inflammatory bowel disease. It's important to practice sun safety while outside.
Vitamin D definiciency
Now, I’m sure you’re wondering how you would go about finding out if you are Vitamin D deficient. Well, it’s a simple blood test. Just ask your doctor to test your Vitamin D levels, be ready for a prick, and wait for your results. If indeed you are deficient, which most of us are, here are some tips on how to up your levels:
Tips to increase Vitamin D levels:
1. Get outside!
Like I mentioned above, just 10-15 minutes outside, with skin exposed, will do the trick. Of course, depending on your skin type you may need a little more time or a little less. Certainly, if you are fair and burn easily, quit your exposure the moment you start to feel any burning.
And if you are of a darker complexion, you may need a bit more time outside due to high melatonin present in your skin. But the overall point is, get outside every day. It only takes 10-15 minutes of your time, it’s so easy!
2. Take a Vitamin D supplement
If you live in an area where sunshine is not so easily accessible daily, then supplements are a great option. I highly suggest a liquid Vitamin D supplement, as it is easier to digest than taking it in pill form.
Just go online and you’ll see all the options. And of course, don’t forget to consult your doctor before starting a new supplement.
3. Use the DMinder App
Yup, just as the kids say, there is an app for everything. And yes, you guessed it, there is an app that tracks your Vitamin D intake via the sun. It’s called the DMinder app.
It’s free to download and it literally tells you when the best time is to get out in the sun for the highest levels of Vitamin D absorption. So cool!
You put in your location and it has a timer and everything. While you sit outside it shows how much Vitamin D you are absorbing. I highly recommend using it, it’s a great tool.
Are you deficient in Vitamin D? When was the last time you had your levels checked? Do you spend time outside daily? Comment below?
Will you take our In America survey to help others understand the true impact of Crohn's and UC?