This isn’t the first time that I have posted about the power of the outdoors. In a post I made earlier this summer called Summer Camp ~ The Ultimate Score! I talked about the powerful influence that technology is having on our children and how important it is to immerse them in “nature” whenever possible. The section below has been taken from my previous post because it relates so well to the video below.
In his book, Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder, Richard Louv, focuses on the negative trends effecting our children and the impact that technology is having on their lives and development.
Richard Louv directly links the lack of nature in the lives of today’s wired generation—he calls it nature-deficit—to some of the most disturbing childhood trends, such as the rises in obesity, attention disorders, and depression.
Check-out this video to see how else our health might be affected, if we stopped going outside altogether.
A few years back, I was seeing a naturopath and had my vitamin D levels checked. I wasn’t feeling great at the time and he suspected that I may be low in Vitamin D. My results came back and my levels were very low, indicating that I was Vitamin D deficient. On his website, Dr. Frank Lipman talks about Vitamin D, appropriate levels and some symptoms of deficiency.
What are the symptoms of vitamin D deficiency?
There is no clear pattern of symptoms. In fact many people remain asymptomatic despite low levels. But here are the more common symptoms
- General muscle pain and weakness
- Muscle cramps
- Joint pain
- Chronic pain
- Weight gain
- High blood pressure
- Restless sleep
- Poor concentration
- Bladder problems
- Constipation or diarrhea
Of course, our very best source of Vitamin D is that which is received via the sun, but many people are needing to incorporate more Vitamin D by taking supplements. Dr. Oz recommends 1000 IU a day, as do many health care providers. However, my levels were quite low and some doctors/naturopaths believe that Vitamin D deficiency has reached epidemic proportions. My initial test result was in the upper 20’s (28 I think) and well below what is deemed to be a healthy level. The chart below shows Vitamin D levels and what they mean in terms of your optimal health. Although this chart was not shared by my naturopath, this fits with the numbers and plan we had for achieving optimal levels for me. He felt that I should be within the 80 to 100 range due to the medication I take and other risk factors that I have. (However, another site I found stated that 50 ng/ml was the optimal level ~ so there are definitely different schools of thought regarding Vitamin D and supplementation.) I have been monitored for the past 2 1/2 years, but for most of that time have been on 10, 000 IU per day. I am due for a follow-up test and so I have currently reduced my dosage to 6000 IU. In the time I have been taking this large dose, I have never tested much higher than 70. Keep in mind, that I live in Canada and work almost full-time, so my exposure to the sun is very limited in the winter. Vitamin D levels must be closely monitored by your health care provider as excessive amounts (above 100 ng/ml) can be harmful. The important thing to consider is whether or not you might in fact be deficient and need to get your levels checked and monitored.
If you find that you are feeling “off” or are experiencing some of the symptoms mentioned above ~ get outside. For many, just being outside, can make you feel better. The fresh air, sunshine (Vitamin D) and immersion in nature can be the best medicine of all. However, if you feel that you may need to supplement, check with your health care provider. (I am not sure if medical doctors actually do Vitamin D testing or if you need to have them done through a naturopath and pay for them. I did the latter.)
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