Vitamin D for Vitality & Yang Qi

Vitamin D for Vitality & Yang Qi

25 September 2018 by Caitlin Armit

Vitamin D for Vitality & Yang Qi

Summer Sun

Like most of us in Brisbane city, my weekdays are spent indoors with little to no time either side of my work to see the sun. Coming into Summer, I’m looking forward to getting a good dose of sunshine at the beach and feeling more alive than I do in the Winter months.

In Chinese Medicine, Spring is the transition from the yin season (Winter) to the yang season (Summer). Yin is for rest, nourishment and stillness whereas yang is activity, energy and movement.

Our summers might be a bit brutal for some people, but despite the skin cancer warnings and suffocating humidity, light and sunshine are extremely important for our physical and mental health. In fact, UVB radiation from the sun is also one of the best natural sources of Vitamin D and is necessary for the production of Vitamin D in the skin.

Our bodies can only absorb a limited amount of Vitamin D at a time so there’s no point spending hours in the sun but a few minutes each day is adequate. Since exercise also assists in the body’s production of Vitamin D, you might as well get your intake while going for a walk or doing another outdoor activity.


How do we get Vitamin D from the sun?

When your skin is exposed to UVB rays from sunlight, your body converts a form of cholesterol (7-DHC) naturally found in your skin into cholecalciferol – the previtamin form of D3. This is metabolised in your liver and becomes hydroxyvitamin D. The kidneys convert this to dihydroxyvitamin D – a useful form of Vitamin D for your body.


Why do we need it?

Vitamin D is important for bone health. It improves your body’s calcium absorption and bone metabolism. Inadequate levels can result in bone softening conditions such as rickets and osteomalacia. These conditions may be characterised by bone pain, muscle pain and increased likelihood of bone fractures.


Food sources 

Some Vitamin D can be obtained from eating certain foods. These include fish, eggs and some mushrooms. In recent years, some dairy products have added Vitamin D but overall, we can’t rely on diet to get adequate amounts in our bodies.


Risk Factors for Vitamin D deficiency

Risk factors include dark skin, obesity, diseases that affect Vitamin D metabolism and fat absorption (liver or kidney diseases, coeliac disease, cystic fibrosis etc), certain medications, and inadequate sun exposure.

Vitamin D can be assessed by a simple blood test ordered by your doctor.


Vitamin D supplements

 Most supplements are D3 – the type of Vitamin D produced in response to sun exposure and found in animal products, as opposed to the D2, the inactive type of Vitamin D from plant sources which needs to be converted to D3 by our liver.

Dosages are measured in International Units (IU) and the daily recommended intake according to Osteoporosis Australia is 600IU for people aged under 70 who do get some but not enough sun exposure and 1000-2000IU for people who are at risk of deficiency.

Supplementation may take a few months to impact blood levels but should be monitored with blood tests beyond this to ensure there is not excessive build up in the blood over time.


Did you know?

  • Every cell in your body has a receptor for Vitamin D
  • Vitamin D is important for a healthy immune system and wound healing
  • Vitamin D is important for mood regulation – SAD (seasonal affective disorder) is well documented in countries which receive minimal sunlight during the Winter months

Vitamin D for Yang Qi

As mentioned before, Summer is the yang season and it’s all about activity, energy, movement and light. We’re so lucky to live in a part of the world which is sunny for most of the year. Enjoy the warmth and activity that Summer has to offer in South East Queensland but be responsible too. Don’t let your skin get burned and remember to stay hydrated and safe.


Treatment of Vitamin D Insufficiency in Postmenopausal Women: A Randomized Clinical Trial.

Sunlight and Vitamin D: A global perspective for health

Vitamin D: The “sunshine” vitamin

Representations of the health value of vitamin D supplementation in newspapers: media content analysis

Magnesium Supplementation in Vitamin D Deficiency



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