Beautique Medical Spa - July 2017

THE BEAUTI BOOK

WHY VITAMIN D IS THE FORGOTTEN HORMONE JULY 2017 THE SUNSHINE VITAMIN

Are you getting enough vitamin D? Probably not if you’re like many of the people I see every day. We get vitamin D from the sun, and despite the sunny weather here in McAllen, we don’t spend a lot of time in it. Instead, we stay in air-conditioned houses and cars, avoiding the heat as much as possible. When we do go out, it’s often in the evening or at night. Unfortunately, avoiding the heat leads to a vitamin D deficiency. It’s common for people in northern parts of the world to be low on vitamin D. When I lived in Canada in the ’70s, I saw it all the time. Low levels of the “sunshine vitamin” are linked to depression, and there was certainly a lot of that up north, especially during the winter when the sun hardly ever came out. By contrast, consider the people living close to the equator where the weather is pleasant and it’s easy to spend time in the sun. It’s not a coincidence that there are much lower levels of depression in the Caribbean than in Canada. Vitamin D can have a significant effect on mental health, but it does so much more than that. First activated in the liver, vitamin D becomes a hormone called calcitriol in our kidneys. Calcitriol decreases cancer rates and leads to healthier bones, brains, and muscles. It also has a host of other benefits, including stimulating the immune system and helping to prevent colon and breast cancer, as well as decreasing the likelihood of rheumatoid arthritis. So, what can you do? Well, you can spend more time outside — protected by sunscreen, of course. Lighter-skinned people need 15–20 minutes a day in direct sun for proper amounts of vitamin D. Darker-skinned people need closer to 40 minutes for the same result. If you don’t have time to get outside or simply don’t want to (it’s pretty hot out there), there are supplements you can take. I recommend a vitamin D3 supplement, which is a natural supplement that costs less than $15 per bottle.

“Vitamin D may be a forgotten hormone, but there’s no

reason to neglect it any longer.”

Vitamin D may be a forgotten hormone, but there’s no reason to neglect it any longer. If your levels are low (and I’d bet they are unless you work outside), do something about it. You’ll feel happier and be healthier. What’s not to like about that?

–Dr. Sanchez OWNER, MEDICAL DIRECTOR

Be well,

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