Monday, November 19, 2012

Maintaining Adequate Levels of Vitamin D in darker skin

Hello friends,

In this post, I will share with you my quest to increasing my Vitamin D levels, health issues that may arise with inadequate Vitamin D levels, and the importance of maintaining Vitamin D levels. Most importantly, I am looking for any recommendations and advice on how I can increase my Vitamin D levels.

During my annual doctor visit, a few weeks ago, a simple blood test indicated that my Vitamin D levels were very low. As a result, I was prescribed Vitamin D supplements, which I’m currently taking. I must admit that I never really paid attention to Vitamin D before; but, knowing that my Vitamin D levels were low prompted me to take action. Based on a quick Google search, I had to take more of an active role in making sure that my Vitamin D levels are up to par.

Vitamin D is very important in the body for several reasons: 
  1. Promotes Calcium absorption in the gut
  2. Maintains adequate serum Calcium and phosphate concentrations to enable normal mineralization of bones. I NEED strong bones!
Vitamin D and disease prevention 
Vitamin D has recently been shown to lower the risk of diabetes, hypertension, multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis, tuberculosis, memory loss and several types of cancer {Source}.

Currently, I’m on this quest to increase my Vitamin D levels.
Presently, I am increasing my sun exposure.  Now, this is not an easy thing for me since its cold outside and it gets dark at about 4:30 pm. I usually hibernate during the colder temperatures and in the winter. So, this is not an easy task for me. I’m increasing my sun exposure over the weekend when I have more time to go out during the day or sun bathe for about 30 minutes at home.  

Now, I’m a black woman, which means that when it comes to producing Vitamin D via sun exposure, I have a bit more difficulty doing so compared to someone with fairer skin. For this reason, melanin in my skin affects my ability to activate pre-vitamin D. So the darker the skin, the less vitamin D you produce. Hence, the minimum of 30 minutes sun bathing.

So, I’m sun bathing and taking Vitamin D supplements. What else can I do?

For those of you who have dark skin, how do you make sure that you get adequate amounts of Vitamin D (especially during the winter)?  Are you using certain foods? What do you recommend?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

How I upgrade my coconut oil body moisturizer

Hello friends,
In this post, I want to share with you how I upgrade my coconut oil body moisturizer. Back in July, I shared a post with you on how coconut oil has replaced store bought body lotions. I'm discovering the health benefits of going as simple as possible. Although coconut oil has been all well and good, it becomes rock solid in the colder months, which makes it difficult to apply to my body. So, I had to upgrade my coconut oil with some butters so it applies better to my skin and more importantly for added moisture during the winter months.

This is How I do the upgrade from coconut oil to coconut oil with butters:
                                              Using the double broiler method (0n low heat), I melted:

~¼ cup of coconut oil
~½ cup of Shea butter
 ~¼ cup of cocoa butter
To the melted butters and oil, I then added:
2 tbps of castor oil
1 tbsp of vit. E oil
10 drops of tea tree oil

Give the mixture a good stir and let it cool. As the oils and butters begin to solidify, begin to whip. I used a fork. You can use a blender as well. doing so will result in the consistency as seen in the pictures provided. I love how it came out. I will continue to experiment with different variations on my whipped coconut oil, shea, and cocoa body butter

Honestly, this is a great alternative to lotions bought at the store. The most important thing, is that you made it and you know exactly what's in it. This consistency is thick (just how I wanted it) and will also be used for my hair. If you don't like this as thick, use less butters and add more oils. I chose these butters and oils to add to my coconut oil upgrade for several reasons.

Shea butter: very hydrating, because of its ability to penetrate the skin. It is packed with vitamins, fatty acids, and minerals to protect the skin against dryness.

Cocoa butter: Also very hydrating to the skin. Protects against UV damage. Helps to prevent stretch marks and is effective against eczema and dermatitis. Works well to reduce the apperance of scars.

Vitamin E oil: An active ingredient in many skin care products, because of its ability to prevent premature aging, promote healing, prevent the formation of wrinkles and support new skin cell growth and regeneration.

Castor Oil: Softens the skin and helps to reduce the appearance of scars. Has anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties.

Tea tree oil: Has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties as well.
 I hope this helps. If you make this whipped body butter recipe,  please let me know!