Let the Sun Shine

Heading to the beach in the last days of summer? Be sure to catch as many rays as you can.

Ultraviolet B rays from the sun are a great source of Vitamin D, a fat-soluble vitamin that is necessary for bone health and promotes absorption of calcium. In addition, Vitamin D benefits our hearts, lungs, and brains as well as helps fight infection. (1,2)

Low levels of Vitamin D have been seen to occur in babies who are breastfed, older adults whose skin is less adept at absorbing Ultraviolet B rays and whose kidneys are less efficient at conversion to a usable form; people with dark skin, as higher levels of melanin compete for absorption of Ultraviolet B rays; and obese people, as body fat can prevent Vitamin D from being absorbed. (7,8)

Symptoms of low Vitamin D levels include a sweaty forehead, bone pain, depression, fatigue, poor sleep, and getting sick often. (10) People with low levels of Vitamin D are at risk for developing breast, colon, and prostate cancers; high blood pressure; osteoarthritis; and immune-system disorders. (9)

Our bodies do not produce Vitamin D naturally. Instead, we absorb the vitamin from the sun, ingest it in Vitamin D-rich foods, and sometimes take supplements. (1) We absorb Ultraviolet B rays from the sun through our skin. Generally, only about 25 minutes of sun exposure/day is sufficient to maintain healthy levels of Vitamin D and we don’t need to get a sunburn or even a tan. In fact, even if we wear sunscreen most of the time, we can still absorb the necessary amount of Ultraviolet B rays. (35)

Supplements are another good source for Vitamin D, but proceed with caution as too much Vitamin D can be toxic! Our bodies have a system in place to stop too much Vitamin D being absorbed naturally, but we can take too much in the form of supplements. Symptoms of too much Vitamin D include vomiting, constipation, and dangerous amounts of calcium in the body. (9)

Diet is great source of Vitamin D through fatty fish like tuna and salmon, beef liver, cheese, egg yolks, yogurt, mushrooms, and foods fortified with Vitamin D (such as milk, orange juice, and some cereals). (6,7)

Try a few of these Vitamin D-Rich Recipes!

  1. http://www.health.com/health/recipe/0,,10000001996452,00.html
  2. http://www.healthyfood.co.uk/recipe/grilled-salmon-burgers-caper-dressing/



  1. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/
  2. https://www.vitamindcouncil.org/about-vitamin-d/what-is-vitamin-d/
  3. https://www.vitamindcouncil.org/about-vitamin-d/how-do-i-get-the-vitamin-d-my-body-needs/
  4. http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20504538,00.html#sunlight-0
  5. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/6-things-you-should-know-about-vitamin-d
  6. http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/guide/calcium-vitamin-d-foods
  7. https://medlineplus.gov/vitaminddeficiency.html
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3356951/
  9. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/27/health/27brod.html
  10. http://www.rd.com/health/wellness/vitamin-d-deficiency-symptoms/

The Dairy Hangover: Cramps, Bloating & Pain

Basic RGB

Growing up, I had cereal with milk every single morning. On Fridays, my father always brought home pizza from his favorite pizza, covered in cheese – and mushrooms, if he had his way. My mother is Italian; ravioli and cheese gnocchi are dinnertime staples. When we went down the shore every summer, my brother and I could usually sway my parents to buy us Kohr’s after dinner.

Eventually, eating all of those different types of dairy products didn’t settle with my stomach. I ate less ice cream in the summertime, subbed cheese ravioli for penne, and learned to enjoy soy milk with my Special K. It seems that, over time, my body cared to digest products with dairy less and less, leaving me with some discomfort and nausea.

At some point, my body started to produce less lactase, the enzyme that breaks down lactose which is a sugar naturally found in milk. It isn’t uncommon to develop an intolerance to lactose as you grow up. Research shows that 20% of Caucasians lack the gene that has the ability to produce lactase over the course of one’s life. (The numbers are higher for other races and ethnicities: 90% of Asians, 65% of Africans and African-Americans, and 50% of Hispanics.)

Symptoms of lactose intolerance can include nausea, abdominal pain, cramps, and bloating; however, they look and feel differently for each individual. Some people can handle the occasional scoop of ice cream; others can’t.

It’s worrisome to completely remove dairy from your diet, as milk contains many essential nutrients like calcium and Vitamin D. But, you can still stay on track with your health by adding FemmePharma’s B-complex or FemmePharma’s Fab 5 to your daily vitamin routine. In addition to boosting energy levels, improving your mood, and enhancing the appearance of your skin, the B-complex* can even help with proper digestive functioning on those days you can’t resist a cone from Kohr’s!

* Not a substitute for Lactaid, or other commercially prepared forms of lactase