How to Avoid a Vitamin D Deficiency during the Winter
As children, we were always told to finish our milk, because that’s what would help us build strong bones. That's mostly because milk contains calcium, but it's also often fortified with Vitamin D,1 which helps the body to absorb calcium. Both calcium and vitamin D are essential nutrients for building healthy bones. Unfortunately, Vitamin D isn’t naturally occurring in very many foods.
One of the most natural ways to get enough Vitamin D is to expose bare skin to sunlight. When skin gets exposed to the sun, it triggers the synthesizing of Vitamin D from cholesterol. While getting enough sun during summer months is pretty easy, getting it during the winter months – especially in northern climates – is a totally different story. When the mercury drops, oftentimes, so do the Vitamin D levels2.
A Vitamin D deficiency can actually be more serious than we might initially think. It has long been known that a vitamin D deficiency can lead to weak, fragile bones and muscles. But more recent research shows that vitamin D is important for a wide range of health issues, from immune health to overall healthy aging. Low Vitamin D levels have been linked with a greater risk of catching the flu, more mood imbalances, and even with higher rates of chronic diseases, such as heart health problems and some types of cancers2,3.
While a Vitamin D deficiency can have serious consequences, avoiding it is pretty easy with these steps to follow:
- Smarter food choices: Foods that contain Vitamin D aren’t the most plentiful. But, there still are some options to try, such as canned salmon, milk, tuna, or mushrooms. There are also foods enriched with Vitamin D, such as soy, yogurt, cereal, orange juice, and eggs.
- Sun exposure: Getting sun exposure, even if limited, can help. Double-check with your doctor about how much sunlight is safe. A common recommendation is about 20 minutes a few times a week. During winter, do it in smaller amounts to avoid staying out in the cold for too long.
- Vitamin D supplements: While it would be nice to get your daily intake of Vitamin D from food or sun, it can sometimes be difficult. That's why we offer a plant-based Vitamin D supplement made from lichen, as well as natural Vitamin D3 Gummies.
This winter, even with limited sun, you can still get your recommended Vitamin D with a few easy steps.