Getting enough of the “sunshine vitamin”, or vitamin D, can prove to be a challenge as the days get shorter and we see less sunlight.
Vitamin D is an important nutrient for our overall health. It helps regulate our calcium and phosphorus levels, two minerals that are essential to our bone health. While you might think bone health is the only benefit, there are actually many more.
Other Functions of Vitamin D:
- Stronger immune and nervous systems
- Cardiovascular health
- Better cognitive function
- Insulin level regulation
- Decreased risk of asthma, dermatitis and eczema
- Healthy pregnancy
- Reduced risk of flu by 50%
Unfortunately, nearly three-quarters of Americans are deficient in vitamin D. According to WebMD, there are several symptoms and health risks that accompany vitamin D deficiency including bone pain and muscle weakness.
Although some symptoms can be subtle, it is recommended that you get tested by your doctor if you are experiencing any of the following:
- Chronic fatigue/trouble sleeping
- Depression or anxiety
- Weakened immune system
- Inflammation and swelling
To prevent those symptoms and ensure that you and your family get enough of this vital nutrient as the seasons change, follow these simple tips for absorbing vitamin D:
Get Some Rays
Don’t let the colder temperatures be your excuse for not getting any sun. Talk a walk on your lunch or play outside with your kids. If you’re able, plan a family vacation in a warmer climate to really get some sun this winter.
Eat the Right Foods
Eat plenty of foods that are high in vitamin D: Oily fish (salmon, sardines), orange juice, breakfast cereals, red meats, egg yolk, cheese, tofu, mushrooms, and fortified products.
Use a Vitamin D Sun Lamp
Artificial light is another option when natural light is hard to come by. Most light therapy boxes don’t increase vitamin D levels, but they can be effective at preventing seasonal affective disorder. The only vitamin D lamp currently approved by the FDA to actually increase your vitamin D levels is called the Sperti. It is priced at over $400 but can be used everyday and can save your family the cross country airfare to find sunshine.
If all else fails, you can complement your vitamin D routine with some supplements. Excessive intake should be avoided so it’s important to talk to your doctor before beginning any on your own so they can recommend a correct dose based on your current levels.
Feeling Stuffy This Winter?
Lack of sunlight isn’t the only concern when the temperatures drop. It can be much harder to get fresh air in your home during the winter, but it’s important that you do.
*Note: The contents of this page are not meant to be medical advice. Please consult your physician if you have concerns about the health of you and your family.