On my last post, you learned how to Practice Safe Sun and get your vitamin D. This week, we are going to look at a few other intriguing facts about the sunshine
vitamin and also foods that have it.
Just to recap, the best way to get your D is through sunshine. You could accumulate as much as 10,000 IU in 20 minutes if you fully exposed yourself. But please be discreet, and remember that you should only stay in the sun until your skin turns pink, then put on a full-spectrum suntan lotion or get back indoors. If you have darker skin, then a little more exposure is OK. See Practice Safe Sun, and get Dr. Michael Holick’s The UV Advantage which has very precise charts for obtaining vitamin D based on your coordinates and skin type.
Speaking of suntan lotion, why is “full-spectrum” important?
The Dark Side of Sunscreens
In the 1960s, companies that made sunscreens only provided UVB protection. Since it is the UVB rays that cause skin to burn, manufacturers promoted their products to sun-worshippers who could now get dark tans, without being burned. However, the irony is that it is the UVA radiation which causes pre-mature wrinkles, and is linked to melanoma. And, it is the UVB that provides vitamin D (with the help of our skin, cholesterol, liver, and kidneys).
The Environmental Working Group cautions against using sunscreens that contain oxybenzone and retinyl palminate. Both chemicals have been shown to have toxic effects and may cause cancer.
Vitamin D in Food
Remember, if you are not in a tropical/subtropical location, then vitamin D isn’t even available through the sunlight from October through March. That’s half the year!
The trick is to get as much sun as you can, safely, during the warm months, then get it through food and supplementation if necessary.
It is also a good idea to test your serum level of vitamin D. In other words, how much vitamin is floating around in your body. According to the latest research, optimal vitamin D levels to prevent disease are between 40–60 ng/ml. To find out more about testing and the many health benefits of vitamin D, go to www.grassrootshealth.net. This site is managed through a consortium of scientists, institutions and individuals committed to solving the worldwide Vitamin D deficiency epidemic.
Good Sources of Vitamin D2 and Vitamin D3 from Food
Cod-liver oil (1 Tbsp) = 1,360 IU D3
Cooked tuna, sardines, mackerel or salmon (3-3.5 oz.) = 200-360 IU D3
Egg Yolks, conventional eggs (2) = 40 IU,
Egg Yolks 100% free range eggs (Source: Mother Earth News) (2) = 150 – 200 IU
Shiitake mushrooms (fresh, 3.5 oz.) = 100 IU D2
Shiitake mushrooms (dried, 3.5 oz.) = 1,600 IU D2
What’s the difference between the two forms? Vitamin D is a general term. Vitamin D3 is also known as cholecalciferol, and is created by skin cells, along with cholesterol, in response to UVB light. So Vitamin D3 comes from animal sources. Vitamin D2, or ergocalciferol, comes from plant sources.
Get Your D Dosage with this Frittata
Try the Vitamin D Frittata. It will provide you with both vitamin D2 and D3 plus plenty of good protein that will up your testosterone, thus your libido.
Your Kitchen Seduction Ally,
Dellorta, Danielle. “Avoid sunscreens with potentially harmful ingredients, group warns”, CNN News, May 16,2012.
Horlick, Michael. The UV Advantage. New York: ibooks, Inc. 2003.
Tavera-Mendoza, Luz., White, John H. Cell Defenses and the Sunshine Vitamin. Scientific America, p. 62 – 72, November 2007.
Wehr, E., Pilz, S., Boehm, B. O., März, W. and Obermayer-Pietsch, B. (2010), Association of vitamin D status with serum androgen levels in men. Clinical Endocrinology, 73: 243–248. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2265.2009.03777.x
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