vegansaurus!

02/15/2010

Vitamin D or, Why you’ve been sleeping all day  »

First of all, I’m a pretty big science geek. I got a microscope for my 10th birthday, and it’s been downhill ever since. But you’ve got to believe me when I tell you that vitamins, and the ways they interact, are FASCINATING. I’ve been looking this stuff up (for how many hours now? Oh lord) and it’s actually kind of awesome.

See, it’s not just whether you get your vitamins, it’s also in what COMBINATION. The effect they have depends on what other vitamins you take them with. It’s like they’re little vitamin friends and enemies (like middle school!) and there are some vitamins that they totally hate, and if you eat them at the same time they cancel each other out. But their vitamin friends help them be SUPER-POWERFUL and have slumber parties and things.

Here is a drawing of vitamins fighting on a school bus; it is SCIENTIFICALLY ACCURATE.

This is why multivitamins, though they’re good at reducing scurvy and whatnot, aren’t the absolute best thing. There are some vitamins that it’s just really hard to get enough of. Even if you eat healthy unicorn food 24/7, kale and quinoa and things, that won’t give you all the micronutrients you need.

Like, say, Vitamin D. In the summer, vegans are fine, because your body just MAKES it from sunlight. But in the winter? Now? Where do you get it? The health websites are all, “Salmon! Tuna! Sardines! Cod liver oil! Eggs! Oh, and milk.”

…Great.

Basically, being a vegan in winter—with no supplements, and no sun—is a pretty good way to get a Vitamin D deficiency. Soy milk has it, and fortified cereals, but not much. Plants don’t have it at all. And if you don’t get enough, you’re much more likely to get Seasonal Affective Disorder—a.k.a., I’ll Go Cry Into My Pillow and Sleep For 14 Hours Disorder. And a whole lot of other scary diseases on Wikipedia that I won’t talk about because I’m nice.

The point is, if you feel like crap in the winter, this might be why! Seriously! There are two kinds of supplements, D3 (super-effective, nonvegan) and D2 (not as effective, vegan). I’d suggest jumping on the D2 wagon. [Ed.: As you know, your Vegansaurus is not qualified to give complex dietary advice, and suggests contacting an actual nutritionist—with a college degree! not a certificate from like the Holistic Learning Annex!—if you would like to know more about supplements.]

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