CLEVELAND — The sun is a sight we don’t often see in Northeast Ohio.
“It tends to be very, very grey, very overcast,” said Don Allensworth Davies, who moved to the area about 10 years ago.
For a few months in the summer, most of us try to soak it up for all it’s worth.
“You feel so happy and refreshed and rejuvenated and you just want to be out in the sun,” said Darynice Chavis, who works in Cleveland.
But Dr. Roy Buchinsky from University Hospitals said it isn’t just a coincidence you feel better in the sun, it’s chemistry.
“You can ultimately have better bone function, better brain function and hopefully prevent cardiovascular disease, brain disfunction and enhance your immunity,” said Dr. Buchinsky.
Those side effects, are from Vitamin D. It’s known as the sunshine vitamin and it’s what our bodies produce when we are out in the sun.
“What I’ve been doing since the sun has been out, is I’ll just come out here and sit on the benches and people watch,” said Chavis.
And while it’s good to get outside, even in the summer, when we see much more sun than normal, you’re still most likely not getting enough Vitamin D.
Dr. Buchinsky said 60 to 90% of his patients, who are from this part of the country, are deficient in Vitamin D. He said in the winter, those numbers jump even more.
Sometimes, you could be deficient and not even know it. Dr. Buchinsky said you could be asymptomatic. However, the normal symptoms range from moodiness, anxiety, chronic muscle aches and cramps, or extreme fatigue.
He said if you have any of those, you may want to get a blood test to get your levels checked.
“I have seen patients that have come in here with low, low Vitamin D levels. I’m talking about in the single digits, 8’s, 9’s, sometimes 12’s, 13’s. You put them on either a 50,000 unit supplement or a 2,000 to 3,000 a day,” he said. “A few weeks late, it’s like ‘Oh my gosh, my muscle aches have gone away, I feel more energized.’”
Dr. Buchinksy said the brands of different vitamins don’t matter to him as much as the amount in each supplement.
However, it varies for different age groups. Bunchinsky said that’s why it’s so important to get your levels checked, so that you can figure out exactly how much you need based on your age and deficiency.
Another important note, if you are wearing sunscreen to protect against the sun’s harmful rays, you won’t take in any Vitamin D and should be taking a supplement.