Monday, November 21, 2022

Vitamin D And The Winter.

 Today, I'm exploring the question of why we usually get less Vitamin D in the winter. This is an important topic because it helps us stay healthy throughout our lives.   I know I get less Vitamin D in the winter and I end up having to take supplements to get enough.

The best source of Vitamin D is by having your skin exposed to sunlight for a minimum of 15 minutes a day. It is also the best source. In the winter we produce less Vitamin D because we wear more clothing so less of our skin is exposed and we spend more time indoors at the same time. 

When a person does not get enough Vitamin D, it can affect so many different things.  One of its most important roles is to help your body absorb calcium and phosphorus.  It also helps fight depression, muscle weakness, gets right of fatigue, and pain.  When you don't have enough Vitamin D in your body, your risk for cardio vascular diseases increases.  It can also help cut down on illnesses.

In winter, it is important to take specific steps to keep your Vitamin D levels up.  One thing you can do is to go outside every day even if it is cold. Unfortunately during the winter, when the angle of the sun has changed, a person usually needs more time to get the same amount of Vitamin D as one does in summer. It is recommended a person use sunscreen when going outside in the winter.  Research indicates that a SPF sunscreen of 15 protects 93% of UV rays from reaching the skin so this means 7% makes it through to be absorbed by the skin.  That is enough to help your body produce Vitamin D. 

Another thing is to make sure you eat plenty of foods containing Vitamin D during the winter. The few foods that offer a good amount of Vitamin D are fatty fish such as salmon, mushrooms, and eggs but milk is considered one of the best sources because milk is fortified with Vitamin D to prevent rickets in children.  Milk has been fortified since the 1930's. Other sources of dairy include yogurt and certain cheeses so if you are not a milk drinker, there are other dietary possibilities. 

If you aren't sure you are able to get enough Vitamin D via your diet or being outside, it is possible to take a regular supplement. The United States Government recommends that people get 400 to 800 International Units(IU) but most supplements are sold in the 800 to 2000 IU's so go for the lower amounts unless you've been diagnosed with a Vitamin D deficiency and the doctor will tell you what amount is best.

Always make sure you are getting enough calcium because if you do not have calcium available for the Vitamin D to use to add to your bones and circulate in your blood, your body will take the calcium out of your bones to make sure your blood has what it needs.  The same foods that have Vitamin D, also have the calcium so if you eat plenty of them, you should have enough of both Vitamin D and Calcium for your body's needs.

If you are taking medications, talk to your doctor to make sure the medications do not interfere with your body's ability to absorb Vitamin D.  This is important since you want to make sure you have enough Vitamin D so that you stay healthy.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

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