The Wyoming Sun And Our Vitamin D Deficiency In Winter
Wyomingites who don’t get a daily 15 to 30 minutes of exposure to the sun don't get enough vitamin D, says the Casper Journal. Apparently that's a lot of us.
Living in Wyoming in the winter, we're at a higher risk of a real deficiency – not getting out in the sun due to cold, which only more prevents skin exposure when wearing two pairs of jeans and a big Wyoming Cowboys jacket.
Many of us don’t realize how important the sun is - if not taking vitamin D, or eating D laden food. (You can easily check your vitamin D levels at blood labs like Wyoming Health Fairs, and cheaply get yourself the most potent form – D-3.) Still, the most potent natural source is sunlight, which the body uses to make Vitamin D.
“If, nationally, about 40-some percent of the population are deficient, I wonder what proportion in Wyoming is deficient,” said Dr. Mark McGinley, an intensivist, pulmonologist and Wyoming Medical Center’s ICU director.
Here’s another shocking fact. Sunscreen almost completely cancels the amount of vitamin D we get, but here’s some good news for us about altitude. The higher above sea level the more D the body is capable of generating, in which case it may be only 15 minutes exposure we need, and not even need sunscreen. (That’s not a recommendation if fair skinned.)
You can determine exactly how much of the vitamin you are getting using google earth, factoring latitude, longitude, altitude, etc… How to do that is on an amazing site here.
So, it's good for our bones, but what is really convincing that we need Vitamin D is the list of bad things D helps prevent - one of them starting with a C.
Long story short, whether from sun, food, or D fortified drink, get it any way you can.
One more note for Wyoming women who don't already know about pregnancy, Vitamin D is one of the important things babies have a way of greatly depleting.