While I have always been aware of the importance of Vitamin D, I did not understand it to the extent that it should be understood. Recently, two friends of mine suffering from Vitamin D deficiency shared with me the various health issues that can stem from something that most of us take for granted. In adults, Vitamin D deficiency may precipitate or exacerbate osteopenia, osteoporosis, muscle weakness, fractures, common cancers, autoimmune diseases, infectious diseases and cardiovascular diseases.

Vitamin D is important in more ways than you think. It helps to maintain bone density, healthy bone growth and the normal functioning of the nervous system. Vitamin D has also been correlated to improving a host of illnesses, such as colon cancer, inflammation, multiple sclerosis, seasonal disorders and depression. And it is crucially important in aiding the body’s absorption of calcium. In fact, if you don't get a sufficient amount of Vitamin D, calcium supplements are almost useless.

According to Holick, a professor of Medicine, Physiology, and Biophysics, and Director of the General Clinical Research Center at Boston University School of Medicine and Director of the Bone Healthcare Clinic at Boston Medical Center, it has been estimated that 1 billion people worldwide are Vitamin D deficient or insufficient.

What can you do to ensure you get an adequate amount of Vitamin D daily? Although you can take Vitamin D as an oral supplement, the best way for it to be absorbed is by sun exposure. While I tout the use of sunscreen on a daily basis (and still do), I recommend 15 minutes of pure sun every day, prior to sunscreen. My favorite time is in the early morning while sipping my tea. And add oily fish to your diet, if you haven't already.

Oz Garcia PhD, lifestyle and longevity expert, agrees. He recommends the following to increase your daily intake of Vitamin D:
  • -Start off with no less than 10 minutes of sun a day and work up to 20-40 minutes
  • -Avoid the sun from 12-3pm to prevent sun burn
  • -Eat cooked salmon (3 ½ ounces provides 90% of the DRI, Daily Recommended Intake)
  • -Eat tuna fish (3 ounces provides 50% of the DRI)
  • -Eat eggs (1 whole egg provides 6% of the DRI)
For questions about your health as it relates to Vitamin D, please consult your doctor.
Antioxidants. We talk about them quite often. Definitely an essential element in your skin care regimen. However, how seriously should we take the claims of the antioxidant vitamins and supplements on the market?

Knowing you can ingest antioxidants via the right foods, in addition to topically applying antioxidants, is the addition of a pill really necessary? What you should know is that topical antioxidants only work on the epidermis (the outermost layer of the skin that protects against the environment, making up 20%), not the dermis (the foundation for the epidermis, making up 80%). Personally, I have relied on a solid skin care routine and eating healthy foods. I have yet to take an anti-aging vitamin. But I must say, I am curious. You might just find this in queue for review in the upcoming months.

If you are considering purchasing a pill form antioxidant, please consult your doctor first. Make sure to look for the USP (United States Pharmacopoeia) seal on the packaging. This will ensure that the product has been tested and contains the ingredients that are stated on the bottle. If you are not sure which vitamins to look for, consider a list of antioxidants, in addition to referencing this list recommended by Drs. Oz and Murad. Also, you will find the foods associated with these antioxidants.
  • Vitamin A - increases elastin, collagen and hyaluronic acid (Found in: leafy green vegetables and orange and yellow vegetables)
  • Vitamin E - hydrates skin and reduces inflammation (Found in: wheat germ and sunflower oils, sunflower seeds, sweet potato, avocado, pear, spinach)
  • Vitamin C - builds collagen and protects against sunburn (Found in: green vegetables, citrus fruits, strawberries, black currants, blackberries, cherries, grapes)
  • Coenzyme Q10 - helps antioxidants to work better (Found in: fish oils, nuts, fish, meat)
  • Biotin - hydrates and strengthens skin, hair and nails (Found in: egg yolks, peanuts, peanut butter, hazelnuts, sesame seeds)
  • Lycopene - normalizes cell function (Found in: tomatoes and tomato products, watermelon, grapefruit)
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids - moisturizes the skin and reduces inflammation in the body (Found in: salmon, walnuts, olive oil, flaxseed oil, coldwater fish, nuts)
  • Pomegranate Extract - strengthens skin (Found in: pomegranates)
  • Astaxanthin - improves skin elasticity (Found in: yeast, salmon, trout, krill, shrimp, crayfish, crustaceans)
  • Green Tea - thickens epidermis and protects against photodamage (Found in: green teas)
Still confused? Your dermatologist can answer further questions and point you in the right direction. And feel free to reach out to our community to share any comments and/or concerns you may have.
Think pink. October is breast cancer awareness month and you have the opportunity to show your support by giving back to those who need it most. You can support the cause in various ways. To shop for clothing, active wear and jewelry, visit the official site.

unknown.thumbnailFor skin care, Become is donating 10% of the proceeds from the sale of the Trio Basics set (cleanser, toner and day cream) for the entire month of October. This set gives you everything you need to start your day cleansed, toned and moisturized. It retails for $85 and offers two versions. The company will donate to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, a foundation dedicated to making sure traditionally under-served women have access to mammograms.

avon001.thumbnailThe Avon Foundation continues to help improve the lives of women globally, through one of its groundbreaking programs, Avon Breast Cancer Crusade. The pink ribbon products that raise funds help to save lives – one dollar, one product and one person at a time. Products include lip balm, clogs, necklaces, bracelets, bubble bath and water bottle - all under $15.00.

Not just one month a year, but all year long, we should be cognizant of those battling this deadly disease. Show your support today. Here's to you, Mom.
For over eleven years, L’Oréal Paris has offered hope to the tens of thousands of women afflicted with ovarian cancer, helping to raise in excess of $14 million dollars to advance research, increase awareness and ultimately find a cure. Now you can do your part in joining the fight against ovarian cancer. Show your support with your purchase of one or more of the following:

Color of Hope Makeup Collection: The L’Oréal Paris Color of Hope Makeup Collection is every bit as inspiring, on-trend and fashion-forward, as it is hopeful. L’Oréal Paris will donate $2.00 to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund (OCRF) from the purchase of each Color of Hope Color Riche Nurturing & Protective Lipcolor, available in the following shades: Color of Hope, A Lighter Shade of Hope and A Deeper Shade of Hope.

Color of Hope Cosmetics Bag: L’Oreal Paris offers The Color of Hope Cosmetics Bag, which includes key products from the Collection. With every purchase of the exclusive Color of Hope Cosmetics Bag, L’Oréal Paris will donate $5.00 to the OCRF.

Hope Necklace: The L’Oreal Paris Hope Necklace is a simple way for women everywhere to visibly and tangibly help in the fight against one of the most deadly women’s cancers. The necklace was designed by 2008 Swarovski Award for Accessory Design recipient Philip Crangi and features a double eternity ring design of cubic zirconia set in sterling silver. One ring is worn for remembrance and one ring is worn as a symbol of hope for the future. The Hope Necklace is available for only $29.95. With every purchase of the L’Oréal Paris Hope Necklace, $5.00 will be donated to OCRF to support life saving research to fight this deadly disease.

Bring hope to the thousands of women and their loved ones who have been affected by this devastating disease. Join L’Oréal Paris in the fight against ovarian cancer. Hope begins with you.