'Sunshine vitamin' fights seasonal Dark Ages, fitness expert says:

"Lack of vitamin D blamed for wintertime funk suffered by many"

If you're like countless health-conscious Canadians, your fitness regimen is undoubtedly under siege by the gloomy darkness of another impending winter.

As daylight hours become unbearably scarce and with the shortest day of the year just past -- the winter solstice struck Sunday -- your energy reserves may seem as though they've been prorogued until spring.

Heck, during these cold and dark months, just dragging your butt to the gym can be a workout.

But don't despair in the shadows of these seasonal Dark Ages.

Marc Sorenson says there's a beacon of hope and it's called vitamin D.

The U. S.-based health and fitness expert-- also known as the Vitamin D Doctor -- blames a lack of the so-called sunshine vitamin for the wintertime funk experienced by many residents of northern latitudes.

"In Edmonton, you've got at least six months where you don't get any vitamin D out of the sun at all because it's too low in the sky in the winter," the fit 65-year-old tells Sun Media in a phone interview from sunny St. George, Utah.

Sorenson, author of bestseller Vitamin D3 and Solar Power for Optimal Health, explains that UVB light -- which stimulates skin to produce vitamin D-- is filtered out through the atmosphere in the winter due to the low angle of the sun's rays.

"You just don't have any (UVB) at this time of year at all at the latitude where you are," he adds.

Plus vitamin D isn't found in many foods. Sources are fatty fish -- including salmon, oil-packed tuna, mackerel, herring and sardines -- and eggs, along with milk, cereal and juices that have been fortified with it.

Sorenson, who has been extolling the benefits of vitamin D for more than three years, recommends hopping into a good tanning bed -- not a high-pressure bed -- three times a week for 20 minutes on each side (front and back). And make sure you don't burn, he warns.

Source: Posted by "CARY CASTAGNA, SUN MEDIA" and is adapted from "European Sunlight Association".