Sun exposure to the skin is humanity’s natural, intended, and most effective source of vitamin D. Vitamin D is produced in the skin only after exposure to ultraviolet B light (280nm – 315nm), which is not produced by typical incandescent or fluorescent light bulbs. While these types of bulbs can also lead to headaches or migraines from prolonged exposure, full spectrum light bulbs do not impose such physical burdens from repeat use. (Although as with all things, moderation is recommended.)
Working in a cubicle not only often restricts the ability of a worker to bask in the natural radiance of our Sun, but also typically requires long hours trapped behind four gray walls. This can result in both decreased mood and morale, as well as vitamin deficiencies. While oral supplements can help to offset some effects of this condition, sunlight is the only natural source of vitamin D. Unlike dietary vitamin D, your body is able to de-metabolize any excess produced in your body through naturally occurring instances. This is important as vitamin D experts now advocate 1,000 – 2,000 IU daily, which is nearly ten times recommendations previously established. Because excess vitamin D can cause the body to over process calcium, it’s important to let your body handle the production of this vital nutrient in a natural and efficient manner.
What are some of the natural benefits of vitamin D?
- Promoting absorption of calcium and bone health
- Boosting immune function
- Reducing inflammation
- Healthy neuro-muscular function
- Protecting against some forms of cancer
How can I avoid vitamin D deficiency without taking supplements when working in a cubicle?
With all of these factors in mind, it’s important to ask yourself: How can I avoid vitamin D deficiency without taking supplements when working in a cubicle? The answer to that question is two-fold. First and foremost, you should purchase a full spectrum light fixture or bulb set. Full spectrum light bulbs simulate the full spectral power distribution range, both visible and ultraviolet of natural outdoor light, and thus “trick” your body into producing vitamin D naturally. Specialty lighting units are available in all shapes and sizes to produce a more modern cubicle aesthetic, while other retailers sell modified full spectrum light bulbs that can plug into any type of light socket.
Secondly, in an apparent contradiction to the previous statements, vitamin D supplements can go a long way to adding depleted vitamins to any diet. Although these shouldn’t be abused (duh!), supplements can certainly aid in preventing deficiencies for any cubicle worker. While there exists opposing viewpoints to daily dose limits, 250-500 IU is certainly on the safe side of daily dosage levels. Very common in most areas, (and cheap too!) this supplement can even be picked up on your next trip to your local grocery store!
Sources: http://www.doctoroz.com/ , http://www.sunshinevitamin.org/
Photo provided courtesy of Anton Fomkin (Flickr)