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Vitamin D

From the O.G. black Canadians to the newly arrived black Canadians, we offer you a gift. This gift is special and can help you to stay healthy is your new home, a nation which for the most part is cast into sub-zero temperatures and blighted by seemingly unconquerable darkness from November to April. Trust us! We that were born in Canada or have survived multiple winters know of what we speak. The daily tropical sunshine that many of you basked in “back home” in your countries of birth, whether in Africa, the Caribbean, or Latin America, well let’s just say you kissed that all good-bye when you deplaned at Richardson, Pearson, or Trudeau airports. Yes, you will see many hot, even muggy days in July and August, but the Canadian autumn, winter, and spring can bring months of seemingly endless greyness, accompanied by rain, sleet or snow. Plus, the winter days with piercing sun are often the coldest when you dare not leave your home.

Why are we blathering on about the lack of sunshine? Well, while you previously got your vitamin D from allowing the sun to kiss your beautiful brown skin, now, we would like to humbly suggest that you consider making vitamin D supplements a part of your year-round or at least cold weather ritual.

What is it? According to Harvard’s School of Public Health, vitamin D is both a nutrient we ingest and a hormone our bodies can produce. But it is called “the sunshine vitamin” for a reason. Since it is produced in the skin from sun exposure, people who live in cold weather regions or who limit their sun exposure do not produce enough naturally. Also of note, those of us with darker skin routinely have lower levels of vitamin D because the pigment (melanin) acts like a “shade” reducing production. Another problem? Few foods are a natural source of vitamin D. Therefore, the best way for many of us to get the recommended dose is to take a supplement.

Why does this matter? This fat-soluble wonder aids in the bodily absorption of calcium and phosphorus, both essential for bone health. But studies also show that it can reduce the growth of cancer cells, control infections, and reduce inflammation. Want more good news? According to Houston Fibroids (Houston’s leading fibroid treatment centre), early evidence suggests that vitamin D supplementation can inhibit fibroid growth in both black and white women. A 2019 study published in the Caspian Journal of Internal Medicine delivered more promising news; after a ten-week intervention in which 69 women with uterine fibroids (leiomyomas) received 50,000 IU of vitamin D every two weeks, the fibroid size in the vitamin D group significantly decreased in comparison to the placebo group.

Why are we going on about fibroids? According to the Black Women’s Health Imperative, “Relative to white women, black women are 2-3 times more likely to have fibroids, to develop them at younger ages, to have bigger fibroids, to have more fibroids, and to have more symptoms. The rate of hospitalization for fibroids is three times higher for black women than white women.”

So, from the O.G.’s to the “why am I seeing my breath in the air” newbies, we present to you the treasure that is vitamin D. Reasonably priced and available in tinctures, capsules, tablets, and even gummies, there’s simply no excuse not to get your daily dose.