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Vitamin D Can Help Fight the Winter Blues

Vitamin D Can Help Fight the Winter Blues

                Vitamin D is commonly referred to as the “sunshine vitamin” because we absorb it through our skin from the sun’s rays. Your body can make Vitamin D using cholesterol and sunshine, which can result in an uplifted mood. You can also get Vitamin D through your food. Vitamin D absorption results in an increase in serotonin levels. But when those cold winter months roll in, many people experience what is referred to as the “winter blues”, or an overall gloomy feeling during the winter season. It is also commonly referred to as Seasonal Affective Disorder. Due to the Earth’s tilted rotational axis, we are exposed to less sunlight which results in less Vitamin D production in our bodies. As a result, Vitamin D is one of the most common vitamin deficiencies people can experience.

                Vitamin D is used in more than one way in our bodies. Not only does Vitamin D help lift our mood, but it helps in building and maintaining strong bones and teeth, regulating our immune system, supporting brain and nervous system health, regulating insulin levels, and many other key roles that help sustain or improve our body’s health. The amount of Vitamin D varies from person to person so it’s important to remember other factors that may contribute to Vitamin D levels. For example, a person’s skin tone is one factor that contributes directly to how much Vitamin D someone absorbs. The more melanin a person has, the darker the person’s skin tone is, which makes it harder from that person to absorb Vitamin D. A person’s job and lifestyle are two very important factors when looking at Vitamin D levels. A person who works inside or doesn’t go outside regularly is more likely to have a Vitamin D deficiency.

Here are three ways to increase your Vitamin D intake:

  1. On average, you should get about 10-20 minutes of direct sun exposure per day. If you have lighter skin, you need less time but if you have darker skin or the further north you live, you’ll need more exposure. If this is the case, it is recommended to get around an hour of direct sun exposure.
  2. You can consume foods with higher levels of Vitamin D. These foods include different types o fish (halibut, mackerel, salmon, swordfish, rainbow trout, tuna, sardines), mushrooms (such as maitake and portabella exposed to UV light), eggs, and raw milk products.
  3. Supplementing your Vitamin D is also an option. Ideally you want your Vitamin D blood levels to be between 50 and 60 nanograms per milliliter. For the average adult the recommended dosage is 600 IU (15 mcg) per day. But with each person, each dosage is different, so it is recommended discuss this with your doctor and to get a blood test that tells you how much Vitamin D you actually need.

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What is Turmeric?

Turmeric, or Curcuma Longa, is an extremely well-researched herb and spice that has been used for thousands of years. Popular and commonly found in India and Southeast Asia, the root is dried and ground, producing a unique, bright yellow powder that has an abundant amount of natural benefits. Within the actual plant, there are numerous chemical compounds called Curcuminoids. In Turmeric the active substance within the Curcuminoids is one you’ve probably heard of, Curcumin. Curcumin is a natural healing compound that also has several nutritional benefits. Turmeric is recognized as one of the most influential herbs on the planet. Not only does is carry many natural healing compounds, it is considered very safe to consume and there are hardly any known side effects to consuming Turmeric.

Here are five benefits of Turmeric:

  1. Natural Anti-Inflammatory: The active ingredient within Turmeric is called Curcumin. Curcumin is said to have the same powerful effectiveness as anti-inflammatory drugs but without the side effects. This can help reduce or prevent inflammatory diseases both internally and externally. These include inflammatory diseases such as heart disease, IBS, metabolic syndrome, and several others.
  2. Can Slow or Stop Future Blood Clots: The Curcumin from Turmeric sustainably decreases blood clot formation and possibly the future risk of future clot formation. Curcumin alters the formation of an internal process called eicosanoid biosynthesis by reducing platelet aggregation.
  3. Benefits Against Depression: There have been several studies that show Curcumin, the active ingredient within Turmeric, is as effective as taking an anti-depressant but again, it doesn’t have the negative side effects. Depression is connected to reduced levels of BNDF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) and a shrinking hippocampus. This part of the brain is associated with learning and memory. Curcumin is said to increase BNDF levels, reverse potential damage, and enhance low serotonin and dopamine levels.
  4. Supports Gut Health: With the anti-inflammatory properties that Turmeric has, supplementing with Curcumin has been said to restore and heal gut health while supporting the growth of beneficial bacteria. Improving gut health can benefit more than just the digestive process. The absorption of nutrients is improved which means the body is receiving the essential nutrients it needs to function.
  5. Improves Skin Health: Again, Turmeric contains anti-inflammatory ingredients that help reduce inflammation, but it also contains antioxidants. Both properties can help revive your skin, producing a natural glow and luster. The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties have been known to aid in the healing of wounds, psoriasis, acne, scabies, and a wide range of other dermatological conditions.

Turmeric can easily be added to a person’s diet. As mentioned earlier, Turmeric is a herb and spice that has been used for thousands of years. Cooking a traditional dish or adding Turmeric to your smoothie is an easy way to add this beneficial plant to your diet. If adding Turmeric directly to your diet is not an option or doesn’t appeal to you, another easy way to reap the benefits of Turmeric is to take a supplement. This can be done in powder or capsule form. It is recommended to take one that includes the ingredient black pepper. The Curcumin in Turmeric does not absorb easily, and black pepper helps aid with the absorption process.

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