Image by Caroline Whatley

My mental health journey started way before I even knew I was on a mental health journey. I had a really charmed life growing up on a small farm—I went to a great school, never wanted for food or shelter, and I felt quite safe with my adopted family. But there was always something that I hid from a lot of people. I would cry myself to sleep at night. 

I grappled with my pain for years, before I had language for it.

I was a very small person struggling with very deep things that I didn’t know how to navigate. It was only when I got older and began therapy that I realized I had been suffering my entire life, and this wasn’t something new. Now, I have a way to shape how I’m experiencing things, and it was helpful to have a label for it (even though I don’t really like labels), to know that I wasn’t alone.

However, it was also very scary and brought a lot of shame and discomfort leaning into the label of struggling with depression. I’m naturally a problem solver, so once I had a name to it I decided I didn’t want to be my own worst enemy. I knew deep in my core that movement was a powerful tool for me—after all, I’ve been moving my entire life. 

Using movement to ease my depression symptoms. 

I played various sports throughout high school and then two years in college, but after that I dislocated my shoulder, tore my meniscus, got stitches—I realized those sports maybe weren’t for me.

Then, one of my friends invited me to go for a run during college, and I thought: ‘Sure I can do that, but what’s the purpose? What are we chasing?’ But it was fun—and one thing led to the next and we entered a 5K.

After that, I started doing bigger and bigger races. When I graduated college, the habit stuck with me. I liked that I could access running daily without a whole lot of money or resources, and I had the ability to put on my shoes and end up somewhere different both mentally and physically. There was real magic and power in that for me because it was something that I could do, as opposed to feeling hopeless (which I’ve since realized is the form my depression takes).

But with that, I had to learn how not to abuse the activity. In the beginning of my journey, I was running marathons and racing several weekends a month—but it became too much, and I got stress fractures after taking it too far. After recovering from my injuries, I realized I needed to find a way to balance my activity a little more. 

Over the last several years, I’ve honed in on how to balance that part of my life. I do have to force myself to take rest days, and it’s very difficult because my brain usually doesn’t feel the same. 

My running routine for mental health. 

Nowadays, I run five days on, two days off, sometimes six days on two days off, but I know that rest really is part of training. It took a long time for that shift to happen for me, but I realized that when I’m running I just need to go out there and enjoy myself, and it feels like a much happier, healthier place to be.

I try not to run the same route twice if at all possible. I like changing it up and having variety. I love new things. I don’t really listen to music either because I need to be aware of my surroundings from a safety perspective. 

Other times, running can be playful. If I see a rock that looks manageable, I will jump off. If I see a dog, I’ll stop to pet it or take pictures. This is not a serious endeavor. 

That said, at times, it’s not always easy to keep up the routine. A week and a half ago, I hit a really low spot. I was crying and laying on the bed, but I had enough willpower to get my clothes on and get dressed. My wife suggested that I go for a run and she would follow me on the bike for the first mile or so.

I made it to the end of the driveway, and when I looked down, I thought that my usual route seemed so far. So I started walking, and then moving faster with the next steps. I started jogging, and by the third or fourth mile I felt a transformation. It’s almost like a stranger stepped into my place, and when I get back, I felt so much better.

Advice for anyone struggling with depression.

I’ve come out to myself so many times throughout my life. As a queer person, when I go out into the world, I have to introduce myself to people all the time, and I have to out myself on a daily basis. 

That’s kind of what talking about depression is for me, too, having to come out in a different way. For instance, I would have to explain to my mom or friends: ‘I’m going to be late today, I’ve had a really hard day and I’m not feeling like myself.’

What’s more, I realized I needed to come out to myself as having depression in the same way I did as being queer. I needed to accept that part of myself, even though I wanted to reject it so badly.

In my worst days, I hated that about myself, but I think the best thing is to really try to love yourself, even when you’re having a hard time. That’s why my running shoes are always right there. Because even when I’m in my darkest place, I know that if I can just put them on and get out the door, I’m going to feel better. Running saved my life.

One final note.

Nothing is one-size-fits-all. My way of managing mental health doesn’t look like some of my other friends who have struggled with depression. A lot of people are often surprised when they hear I have depression, because I have a bright personality—but they may not realize I just don’t go out into the world when I’m feeling bad. It’s such a vulnerable place, but it’s important to not have assumptions about what depression is or what it isn’t.

If someone is bold enough to share that they are struggling with it, being supportive and non-judgmental is the most helpful thing. It’s a very personal experience.



Vitamin D is a crucial nutrient for our health and well-being for a number of reasons (think mood, bone health, immunity, and more).* Unfortunately, though, many of us don’t get enough. Research demonstrates an alarming 93% of Americans fail to get in just 400 IU of vitamin D per day from their diet—and the science is abundantly clear that 400 IU doesn’t even come close to cutting it, anyway.

Given that, it’s no surprise that vitamin D supplementation has become such a massive and important topic. Thing is, though, reaping the benefits of the sunshine vitamin in supplement form isn’t as simple as grabbing the first bottle you see and popping it haphazardly. Instead, getting your supplement routine right ensures you’re doing right by your health and your wallet.

So, when is the best time to take vitamin D—and how can you get the most out of your regimen? Here’s what the experts have to say.

The benefits of supplementing with vitamin D.

The reason why vitamin D supplements have become such a necessity for most people: “There are essentially no good, natural food sources of vitamin D,” says renowned vitamin D researcher Michael Holick, M.D., Ph.D., professor of medicine at Boston University and author of The Vitamin D Solution.*

Since a 3-ounce serving of farmed salmon contains about 447 IU, while a cup of fortified milk offers up to 100 IU, and 8 ounces of vanilla yogurt provides just 86 IU, you’d have to eat a truly unrealistic amount of D-containing foods to rack up a significant amount (i.e., an amount to achieve vitamin D sufficiency). “You really cannot get enough vitamin D from your diet,” Holick confirms.

And while you can get some vitamin D from sunlight, it’s still practically impossible to meet your needs via food and safe skin exposure alone, according to Holick. “Unless you’re a lifeguard, it’s unrealistic to think you can get enough vitamin D exposure from the sun,” he says.

In fact, his research on vitamin D levels has found that average serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] levels (the body’s clinical biomarker of vitamin D status) of adults in the U.S. were only hovering around 18 to 22 ng/ml at the end of winter, and still only at 29 ng/ml at the end of summer. Both fall below the 30 ng/ml cutoff for baseline vitamin D sufficiency. (i.e., the cutoff, not the goal). “The difference is small regardless of season,” Holick says. “You still can’t get enough.”

Because of these different factors, Holick (along with many other health practitioners and researchers) recommends supplementing with vitamin D daily.*

(Want some recommendations that’ll actually help you meet your needs? Check out our favorite vitamin D supplements.)

What to consider with timing your vitamin D supplement.

Since vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, it strongly prefers a source of fat in order to be properly absorbed in the body. According to integrative dietitian Whitney Crouch, RDN, CLT, vitamin D supplements are “best absorbed when taken with food containing avocado, olive oil, flax, or other sources of beneficial fats.”* So, popping your standard D supplement on an empty stomach probably isn’t the best idea.

There’s one important exception here, though. “If your supplement is already packaged with adequate fats included, there’s no need to take it with food,” Crouch adds. This is a rare feature among vitamin D supplements offered today, so it’s important to check product labels to make sure yours contains some kind of fat or oil to foster absorption, Holick says.

If that is the case, though, you can feel free to take your vitamin D sans food. And if not, you’ll still absorb some vitamin D. “We’ve done studies and shown that vitamin D with oil can be taken with a full meal, on an empty stomach, with additional fat or without it,” says Holick.

That’s why mbg uniquely and expertly formulated our vitamin D3 potency+ with three built-in, high-quality organic oils (from extra-virgin olive oil, avocado, and flaxseed) to be sure you’re maximizing the fat-soluble bioavailability of this critical nutrient.* With this absorption support, you can get the most out of your vitamin D, regardless of when you take it (not to mention the healthy omega-3 and omega-9 fatty acids).*

The link between vitamin D & sleep.

Perhaps you’ve heard some of the buzz out there right now that suggests that supplementing with vitamin D before hitting the hay can affect your ability to snooze. Well, it’s not a super-clear story right now.

Research has shown that vitamin D is involved in the production of the hormone melatonin, which helps regulate your circadian rhythm and sleep. As mbg’s director of scientific affairs Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., RDN, explains, “The vitamin D and sleep relationship appears to be a bidirectional one. Suboptimal vitamin D status is linked to lower sleep quality and shorter sleep duration, and inadequate sleep is linked to a higher risk of vitamin D deficiency. The science is young and emerging here.”

Holick concurs, “There is some evidence to suggest that vitamin D promotes sleep, but research is ongoing.”* Indeed, vitamin D deficiency has been linked with several sleep issues—but the true relationship between supplements and sleep still requires some investigation to understand, he explains.*

So, when’s the best time to take vitamin D, then?

According to the experts, when you take your vitamin D supplement is really up to you. “It does not have to be taken at a certain time,” says Connie Weaver, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Nutrition Science at Purdue University. “The best time is whenever in your schedule you can remember to take it.”

As long as your supplement contains fat, you’ve got plenty of flexibility. To stay consistent, though, Crouch suggests trying tying your vitamin D supplement to some other part of your routine that happens daily, like drinking your morning coffee or brushing your teeth.

 If it doesn’t contain fat, try tying it to your breakfast (and just make sure you’ve got some healthy fat like avocado or olive oil in there).* If lunch or dinner works better for your D ritual, go for it!

And if you happen to take your vitamin D at different times or even forget to take it here and there, don’t panic. “Vitamin D is very forgiving,” Holick says. “If you forget it one day, you can take double the next day.” No sweat!*

The takeaway.

There’s no question that taking a vitamin D supplement is a good idea. Once you’ve gotten your levels tested and picked out a high-quality supplement (like mbg’s vitamin D3 potency+), tack it onto an established part of your daily routine like eating your breakfast or brushing your teeth. Remember: If your supplement doesn’t contain fats to support absorption, you’ll need to pair your vitamin D with some sort of healthy fat, like avocado for optimal absorption.* Want specific recommendations? Check out our vitamin D supplement roundup.



The move will help expand access to the polio vaccine for unvaccinated New Yorkers.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul declared a state disaster emergency Friday, after poliovirus was detected most recently in wastewater samples from Nassau County.

The executive order is meant to increase the availability of resources to protect against the disease—namely by expanding the network of healthcare providers able to administer vaccines, which should allow more people to get vaccinated.

“On polio, we simply cannot roll the dice,” State Health Commissioner Mary T. Bassett, MD, MPH, said in a press release. “If you or your child are unvaccinated or not up to date on your vaccinations, the risk of paralytic disease is real. I urge New Yorkers to not accept any risk at all.”

The New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) first identified a case of paralytic polio in July in a Rockland County resident. The case launched an investigation into the wastewater in surrounding communities—since people can shed poliovirus in their stool—and additional poliovirus samples were collected from Rockland, Orange, and Sullivan counties, as well as New York City, and now Nassau County.

In Nassau—now the fifth area in New York to have poliovirus detected in the wastewater—the sample was genetically linked to the case of paralytic polio in Rockland County, suggesting community spread.

According to the NYSDOH, all of the reported samples are considered “samples of concern,” meaning they are types of poliovirus able to infect and potentially cause paralysis in humans.

An Executive Order to Increase Immunization Efforts

Governor Hochul’s declaration of a state disaster emergency will help to increase the availability of resources to help protect New Yorkers from poliovirus.

Emergency medical technicians (EMTs), paramedics, and other EMS workers will be able to administer the polio vaccine, along with other healthcare professionals including midwives, and pharmacists. Physicians and certified nurse practitioners will also be able to issue non-specific standing orders for vaccines.

The executive order also requires healthcare providers to send polio vaccination data to the NYSDOH, so the state can focus vaccination efforts where they’re needed and track community protection levels.

The state of emergency is set to expire on October 9.

All Unvaccinated New Yorkers Urged to Get Polio Vaccine ASAP

New York State health officials are once again urging all unvaccinated New Yorkers as young as 2 months old to get vaccinated right away. People who are pregnant and people who did not previously complete their polio vaccine series should also get immunized.

People who are unvaccinated, the NYSDOH said, are at the highest risk of contracting paralytic polio. The inactivated polio vaccine (IPV)—the only polio vaccine available in the U.S.—offers 99–100% of people protection after all recommended doses.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the following polio vaccine schedules:

  • Children should get four doses of the IPV: one at 2 months, one at 4 months, one between 6–18 months, and one between 4–6 years old.
  • People older than 4 years old, or people unsure if they’ve been vaccinated should receive three doses.
  • Adults who have been incompletely vaccinated and need their remaining vaccines should receive them regardless of the time between doses.

The NYSDOH is also recommending certain vaccinated New Yorkers receive a lifetime booster dose of IPV, including:

  • Individuals who will or may have close contact with someone known or suspected to have poliovirus.
  • Healthcare providers in areas where poliovirus has been detected, or who might handle poliovirus specimens.
  • Individuals who are exposed to wastewater through their occupation.

Poliovirus is largely preventable, and vaccines for polio are safe and effective.

“Do not wait to vaccinate,” Dr. Bassett said. “If you are unsure of you or your families’ vaccination status, contact a healthcare provider, clinic, or local county health department to make sure you and your loved ones receive all recommended doses.”


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