According to Dr. David Samadi, cold winter weather means that people are no longer able to rely on the sun’s rays as the primary source of Vitamin D. Also known as the sunshine vitamin, the unique vitamin maintains the immune system and a general state of good health. The sun is the primary source of vitamin D. People who spend ample time outdoors typically store up good supplies of vitamin D. However, the winter season offers its own unique challenge to people because the sun’s rays are not as prevalent.
Vitamin D is a unique vitamin in that its main source derives from sunlight. One way to ensure an ample supply of vitamin D is to spend time outdoors during sunny weather. However, skin cancer is always a potential threat. People can wear sunscreen protection offering a low SPF 15 factor that protects them from the sun’s harsh rays while also permitting vitamin D to penetrate the skin. During cold weather, people need to find other ways to ensure that they are obtaining enough Vitamin D.
Ultraviolet B (UVB) rays from the sun are stronger in areas that are closer to the equator and weaker in locations with higher latitudes. In certain areas, the sun’s rays do not emit enough UBV light to the earth during winter weather. Consequently, it is difficult to receive enough vitamin D from the sun. People who live in cities extending all the way from San Francisco to Philadelphia do not typically get enough vitamin D in the winter. These residents need to look for alternative forms of vitamin D. The sun’s rays do not furnish enough Vitamin D from November through March, especially in colder climates. People living in Los Angeles, California, or Orlando, Florida, may think they are exceptions to the rule. However, even these residents need to supplement their diets with other sources of vitamin D during the winter.
Why is it Important to Obtain Enough Vitamin D?
According to Dr. David Samadi, people need ample amounts of vitamin D to ensure sufficient absorption of calcium. People who are unable to absorb enough calcium are prone to contracting osteoporosis, a disease causing weak and brittle bones. Research has demonstrated that vitamin D is essential for preventing heart conditions, various types of cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, strokes, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, multiple sclerosis and even psychological disorders such as depression. An ample supply of vitamin D may even slow down the aging process. Researchers estimate that approximately 1 billion people living in various countries do not have sufficient amounts of vitamin D stored in their bodies. Deficiencies have been discovered in all ethnic groups and age groupings.
How is it Possible to Get Enough Vitamin D from the sun?
The body naturally produces vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) when the skin receives exposure to the sun’s rays. For people with fair skin tones, 10 to 15 minutes in the sun is a sufficient amount of time for the skin to absorb vitamin D. People with darker complexions may need to stay outdoors for at least 30 minutes to ensure sufficient storage of the vitamin. Most people benefit from 15 to 20 minutes of sun exposure three times a week.
It is important to expose the face, arms and legs. Otherwise, the person may not store up enough vitamin D. It is important to avoid getting burned. Vitamin D is destroyed when the skin is burned. Plus, the person has a better chance of contracting skin cancer. Although midday is the best time to receive the highest amount of vitamin D, it is also the time of day when the sun emits stronger rays. People who want to ensure that they are getting enough vitamin D are encouraged to go for long walks early in the mornings or later in the evenings when the sun’s rays are weaker. If they walk or jog outdoors for 45 to 60 minutes during these hours, their bodies will gradually store up ample supplies of vitamin D without incurring the risk of getting skin cancer.
How do People Get Ample Supplies of vitamin D in the Winter?
In the winter, it is impractical to expect that the body is going to absorb enough vitamin D from the sun’s rays. People should eat more salmon and tuna during the winter season as well as consume fish liver oil. Other food sources include egg yolks, cheese and beef liver. Fortified milk and yogurt help people obtain enough vitamin D.
Remember the Following Tips Regarding how to Obtain Enough Vitamin D during the Winter:
- People residing below the 37th degree latitude need to spend more time outdoors.
- Eat mushrooms, eggs, tuna, salmon and dairy products fortified with vitamin D3. Vegans can drink orange juice fortified with vitamin D3.
- Take 1,000 to 2,000 International Units (IU) of vitamin D every day in the form of vitamin D3 supplements.
- Get a blood test to find out if the blood contains enough vitamin D. A person’s physician may advise the patient with a deficient amount of vitamin D to take supplements.
Dr. David B. Samadi is the Chairman of Urology at Lenox Hill Hospital where he also serves as the Chief of Robotic Surgery. As a board-certified urologist, Dr. David Samadi specializes in diagnosing and treating prostate cancer, kidney cancer, bladder cancer and urological disorders.
Born into a Persian Jewish family from Iran, Dr. David Samadi left Iran with his brother in 1979. The two brothers emigrated to the United States. After Dr. Samadi became a resident of the United States, he completed his high school education in Roslyn, New York. After graduating from high school, Dr. Samadi enrolled as a student at Stony Brook University where he majored in biochemistry. Dr. David Samadi finished his postgraduate training in urology while attending Montefiore Medical Center. He earned a degree in proctology while attending Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Dr. Samadi earned an oncology fellowship in proctology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. He later studied in France.
After practicing medicine at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, Dr. Samadi became a member of the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine faculty in 2007. Eventually, he was appointed as the Vice Chair of the Department of Urology. Due to his fame as a celebrity doctor, he was the highest paid physician in New York City in 2012. Dr. David Samadi eventually moved his medical team to Lenox Hill Hospital in 2013 where he was appointed Professor of Urology at Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine.