I recently discovered the benefits of taking a winter vacation in a warm sunny place like the Canary islands: concrete benefits for physical and mental health. The topic involves me directly so now I want to spread what I learned about the benefits of sunny winter holidays in the Canary Islands (an not only).
Topic in this article:
- Best places to go on a holiday in winter to avoid typical health issues of this season.
- What is the right level of vitamin d in the blood?
- Ideal Vitamin D Blood Level
- How to Get Your Vitamin D Within to Healthy Ranges
- Vitamin D deficiency causes and treatment.
- How to cure the deficit with a specific vitamin D supplement.
Pay attention: The deficiency often is asymptomatic but the damages it can cause in time are severe.
If you are interested in Canary Islands Holiday... here some useful posts for your vacation.
Winter vacations in the CANARY ISLANDS
How Vitamin D could lengthen your life
I did a blood test and I am found to have a low level of vitamin D (low is a euphemism).
I thought that Vit. D was only useful for the correct bone tissue formation, to prevent rickets and osteomalacia and nothing else. As I was wrong.
Reading various articles on the internet, I found out that the vitamin D is a hormone and the correct dosage of it in the blood is able to prevent:
- Relapsing colds
- Fatigue syndrome
- The pain of unknown origin in muscles, joints and bones
- Senile cognitive deterioration
- Intestinal inflammation, ulcerate colitis
- Asthma and many other disorders like multiple sclerosis and 17 types of cancer.
What is the right level of vitamin d in the blood?
- The optimal vitamin D level is around 40 to 50 ng/ml.
- Under 20 ng/ml, you are severely deficient.
- Between 20 and 29, you have a deficiency of vitamin D.
- Between 30 and 100 is sufficient.
- Greater than 100, you have an excess of the sunshine vitamin (very rare).
I tested my vitamin D level. What do my results mean?
With a nonexistent vitamin D level around 9.8 ng/ml, I had a severe deficiency. Other than a winter beach vacation to get some sun, I needed to move there!
My first reaction was amazement. I sunbathe, I have an olive complexion, I have no bone problems, so how could I have a serious deficiency?
My second reaction was to order a book to deepen my knowledge of the subject and to understand if this vitamin D is really such a miracle.
To my horror I discovered that while I was trying to protect myself from melanoma of the skin, I was unwittingly reducing my vitamin D level, thus exposing myself to the risk of getting other tumours (ovaries, breast, colon... according to a good 17 studies that I read).
Here's a short summary of the main points taken from the book I read:
Signs and symptoms of vitamin D deficiency
You probably have a low level of vitamin D if:
- Always use sunscreen with a high SPF.
- Your skin easily tans. Melanin is useful in preventing sunburn, but also acts as a filter against absorption of vitamin D.
- You are over 60 years old. Older is the skin, the less it synthesizes vitamin D.
- You work inside many hours a day or stay behind glass/closed window (you receive the UVA rays but not the UVB ones).
- You're significantly overweight.
- You are dark complected (Hispanic, African).
- You live in a place with a high level of atmospheric pollution which shields the sun's rays.
- You always wear clothing that covers your whole body (for example a burka).
How to Get Your Vitamin D Within to Healthy Ranges
- The sun have to be taken during the middle hours and without UV filter cream (better form 12:00 to 14:00).
- Someone light-skinned needs about 15 minutes to produce 10.000 UI of vitamin D3, with a longer exposure time for darker complexions: from 30 minutes, up to a couple of hours for Africans.
- After having your dose of Vitamin D, you can use sun cream or get out of the sun to avoid sunburn.
- If you have very light skin, 15 minutes of midday sun could be too much, so just see whether you get red when your skin is uncovered, in the sun or when overcast: this is then your maximum daily exposure limit.
- Undress as much as you can (in a swimsuit would be ideal) more "skin expose to the Sun", more the body produce vitamin D.
- Artificial tanning lamp is an alternative for those who can not travel in winter. No more than 15 minutes per session.
CANARY ISLANDS HOLIDAYS: I'M COMING
Discovered the secret of my inadequate intake of vitamin D, I've become a big fan of beach/winter holidays. I looked for a place in Europe where there were the right weather conditions and, after several holidays in the various Spanish islands, I decided to buy a holiday home in Gran Canaria.
I started sunbathing without sunscreen at least 30 minutes a day and these are the results after some months the first analysis.
Vitamin D from 9.8 ng/ml is increased to 27.5 ng/ml (up to 29 is still insufficient but I'm on the right track :)
TESTING FOR VITAMIN D
What are the blood examinations that you have to do to discover the lack of vitamin D?
PAY ATTENTION: The level that you need to check is NOT 1-25 dihydroxy Vitamin D but the 25-OH vitamin D.
The first exam tests only the renal function. For example, my value of 1-25 D was optimal but, as you know, the 25-OH was very lacking. I strongly recommend you to test you vitamin level. It is an analysis that really can change your life ... for the better.
If your doctor, for whatever strange reason, does not make you a prescription, you can do the blood test in a private clinic / hospital or buying a Vitamin D test online.
Vitamin D deficiency CAUSES
- Syndrome of malabsorption (as the celiac)
- Diseases of the liver and kidneys: the vitamin D that your skin absorbs from the Sun is in inactive form. To transform it into the active form, which is useful for your body, it is necessary that the liver and kidneys are in good health.
- Reduced sun exposure. (The most common)
Vitamin D supplements
The integrator most recommended by doctors is what I'm using: cholecalciferol or rather vitamin D3. You can buy it online.
I use it when I'm not on vacation at the beach in the winter and consequently spend long periods without sun exposure. There is also vitamin D2 called "ergocalciferol" but D3 is 50-100 times more active than D2 so if you have to choose, buy the most effective.
However, if you have a lack of Vitamin D, your doctor will prescribe the supplement.
NOTE: Be sure to have a vitamin D deficiency. If you have optimal levels keep them stable with sun exposure in the summer and, if you can, make holidays in winter in places that I recommend below.
Where to go to INCREASE Your VITAMIN D LEVEL, NATURALLY
A winter holiday is recommended to get a good supply of vitamin D as the critical period, for those who live in seasonal countries like Italy, is from November to April because, at this time, at our latitudes the sun is NOT strong enough to induce a sufficient endogenous synthesis of vitamin D. If then in the summer you have not integrated enough Vit.D is likely to spend a winter in the company of sore throats, colds, flu ... that is difficult to pass.
WHERE YOU GO
- At high altitudes: the sun is more intense on a mountain top instead of at the beach
- In places closer to the equator: up to 30 ° latitude the sun is strong enough for us to get vitamin D needed.
Latitude and longitude of Canary Island
The only place in Europe where you can make vitaminized holidays in winter are the Canary Islands which are located between 28 ° and 27 ° latitude.
As you already know, if you read the various articles, I "bought my place in the sun" and, when I finish my winter and summer holidays, I rent it to tourists. It's a small apartment suitable for a couple, maximum 3 people.
- If you are interested in staying in Gran Canaria, to integrate your stocks sunshine vitamin, you can rent my apartment (when I'm not there of course ;) Puerto Rico accommodation.
Others places to go to INCREASE Your VITAMIN D LEVEL
- Excellent in the South of the United States, in places like Florida.
- In Johannesburg, South Africa, it is possible to produce vitamin D throughout the year.
- Sharm el-Sheikh, in Egypt is about 30° latitude, which is also excellent for stocking up the sun in winter.
- At Canary Islands (Gran Canaria, Fuerteventura, Lanzarote, Tenerife.)
If you live here, pay attention:
- In Buenos Aires, you can not produce vitamin D in June.
- In Cape Town, you can not produce enough vitamin D between mid-May and August.
- To the tip of Chile and Argentina, it is not possible to produce vitamin D between April and October.
- In New York or Boston, it's not possible to produce vitamin D from November to March, like in Nord Italy.
Latitude and Longitude Finder
Using this calculator. Click on the map to see the coordinates and discover other places in the world between the 30th parallel to best select the destination of your winter vacation.
For see my apartment in Gran Canaria, enter these coordinates:
Good bellyful of vitamin D ;)
Aggiornato Ottobre 2017