The little vitamin with the powerful punch

I recently met with Marc Sorenson, author of the book Vitamin D3 and Solar Power for Optimal Health. He was


I recently met with Marc Sorenson, author of the book Vitamin D3 and Solar Power for Optimal Health. He was in Toronto to talk to media about his book andthe importance of vitamin D. I am normally pretty good about taking my dailymultivitamin, but after talking to Sorenson I started to think that I’m probably not getting enough vitamin D every day.

VitaminD is known as the sunshine vitamin because we make it in our bodies when we’reexposed to sunshine—and we only need about 10 minutes of exposure between 10a.m. and 3 p.m. to get what we need. But according to studies cited by Sorenson, most of us are vitamin D deficient. If you’re like me, once the winter comes,I’m lucky to see the sun during the weekdays. I leave for work in the dark andcome home in the dark. Even my lunchtime runs to get something to eat are hitand miss because during the winter months in Toronto the sky is often overcastduring those peak hours of the day when the sun is its strongest (which alwaysmakes me think, "Why don’t I live on a Caribbean island?"). So, likemany Canadians, I’m definitely not getting my share of vitamin D over thecolder months. And when I listened to all the studies and research about whatthis essential nutrient can do for you I started thinking I should be taking ittoo. Add to that the fact that I’m sick about once a month with a cold (my kids bring home every bug from school, and I seem to the "host with the most" for these germs). I could use some immune-boosting.

Accordingto Sorenson, studies have shown that vitamin D can reduce your risk of cancer, dramaticallystrengthen your immune system and help prevent macular degeneration—as well as other diseases. New research from the Framingham Heart Study has also found that people with low vitamin D levels are twice as likely to suffer a heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular problem than someone who has higher levels. It’s also one of the cheapest supplements you can buy. (But, according to Sorenson, we should be getting our vitamin D from the sun and not from a pill for optimal absorption.) You can also up your intake of oily fish to get more vitamin D.

I’ve been taking vitamin D daily now for a couple of weeks and I did notice that I don’t feel as tired as I normally do during the day. But I did come down with a brutal cold this week, so I’m not sure if vitamin D is the "wonder supplement" I had envisioned (or hoped) it to be. But I’m going to keep taking it because there seem to be a lot of convincing research to say that it’s a nutrient many of us could benefit from getting more of— especially during our long, dark winters.

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