Vitamin D in the Winter

Are you getting enough Vitamin D this winter?  I recently got my vitamin D tested and I was surprised to find out I was just below the recommended range.  My doctor recommended a supplement especially throughout the winter months.  So I thought I’d do a little more research to see how lack of Vitamin D affected our body and mind…

There are two major forms of vitamin D – D2 and D3.  D3 is produced by ultraviolet irradiation (sun exposure), but can found in supplements.  This form of Vitamin D can be found in animals.  D2 on the other hand can be found in plants and chemically it goes through a similar process as the D3, found in animals.  Based on my research, there really isn’t much of a difference in which form  you are taking orally as long as you are taking one.  Of course I don’t necessarily like just running out and picking up supplements.  The easiest and most natural way to receive Vitamin D is through sun exposure.  However, during this time of year the days are shorter and there are less opportunities for sunshine, especially if you are like me and spend 8 hours in an office building a day.  Please talk to your doctor first before starting to take any supplements.  There is a slight risk of overdosing on Vitamin D (orally), however you cannot overdose on sunlight exposure vitamin D.  In fact, its recommended to get 15-20 minutes of unprotected (i.e. no sunscreen, bare arms and legs) sun exposure every day!  This seems kind of contradictory when doctors are always recommending sunscreen daily but this is the best way to get your daily Vitamin D.

I’ve been taking my supplement for about a month now and I’m making more of an effort to get outside at least 20 minutes every day for some sunshine.  I recommend getting yours checked as well!  I consider myself an outdoor person and never thought that I’d be low on this important vitamin. Here are some additional interesting facts about Vitamin D and how you can get it through different dietary sources:

Low levels of Vitamin can result in:

  • Poor Bone Health
  • Increased risk for cardiovascular disease
  • Increased risk for cancer
  • Decreased Nerve and Muscle function
  • Depression
  • Mortality

Besides taking a Vitamin supplement you can find Vitamin D in the following dietary sources:

  • Fatty Fish (salmon, canned tuna in oil,  eel, catfish)
  • Whole Egg
  • Beef Liver
  • Cod Liver Oil
  • Other foods fortified with Vitamin D

Resources: www.livestrong.com, http://voices.yahoo.com/vitamin-d-deficiency-increase-foods-high-vitamin-9134203.html?cat=5, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitamin_d.

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