Vitamin D: Essential Facts and Tips on How to Make Sure You're Getting Enough

Vitamin D, Nutrients, Immune System, Health, Staying Healthy During Winter

Are you living in an area that bears the brunt of the cold during the winter season? Those who live in colder climates may not be receiving an adequate amount of vitamin D (aka: the Sunshine Vitamin) that their body needs during the winter season. Studies show that there is a link between insufficient sunlight during winter months and suboptimal levels of vitamin D stimulated throughout the body, during that time.

You may be wondering why our bodies really need vitamin D:

  • Adequate levels of vitamin D have been known to boost the immune system. This is an added benefit for those winter months, when cold and flu outbreaks are at their highest. More importantly, vitamin D has also been linked to lowering a person’s chance of developing cancer.
  • It helps with the absorption of calcium, which is essential for stronger bones and helps prevent osteoporosis and bone fractures.  Vitamin D coupled with calcium can also help regulate muscle and heart contractions. (This is why you will often hear recommendations to take both Vitamin D and Calcium supplements together)
  • Vitamin D also helps to improve blood flow, and has been known to reduce the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure.
  • Studies have shown that vitamin D improves brain function, especially later on in life.
  • There are also rumors that is the vitamin of choice for preventing or reducing hair loss.
  • Furthermore, it has been known to promote weight loss, by helping insulin work more efficiently. (This is why some doctors make recommendations for diabetic patients to increase their intake of vitamin D.)

So if you live in an area where you may not be getting enough sun exposure this winter season, good news is; all hope is not lost. You can make up for vitamin D deficiency through a variety of ways:

  • Fatty fish oil/cod liver oil have both been known to be a great source for vitamin D. Eating salmon (One of my favorites, because it is so delicious!) is an excellent way to obtain your extra vitamin D, as it is naturally found in many types of fatty fish. Just be sure to purchase wild-caught salmon and not farm raised salmon (another important topic that I will be writing about in the near future).
  • This brings me to the next option for your diet, and that is dairy. Be sure to choose dairy products that are fortified with vitamin D. Although with this method, you may need to drink quite a few cups of milk or slices of cheese to get the correct daily dosage. (Also, it may not be a good option for those who are lactose intolerant.)
  • You can also take a Multivitamin. These tend to have an acceptable amount of vitamin D to start off with.
  • If your multivitamin is not giving you enough vitamin D, or if you simply don’t take a multivitamin, then another great option is to take a separate vitamin D supplement. These come in many dosing options, but 1000-2000 IU is about the average.
  • Of course there's always the sun, but then again we are talking about the cold winter months, so this isn’t always a viable option.

Well there you have it, folks! I don’t know about you, but I know I'll be continuing my everyday dosage of vitamin D, along with Calcium. If you are unsure as to whether or not you need a little (or a lot) of extra vitamin D, there are lab work-ups that your physician can order for you, so that you may see where your own levels are at.

**These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This advice is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. (This is purely based on my own personal research, experience, and opinion.)