Low Vitamin D Can Affect Your Health This Winter
The dark days of winter are here. The early darkness that we have in the winter months can make you feel tired, sluggish or even depressed. Many people mistakenly believe that it is the change of seasons that’s doing this to them: The chill in the air, the amount of energy it takes to get anywhere or sometimes even to get dressed in the mornings can be enough to make anyone feel uninspired.
In reality, the cold weather has little to do with the symptoms mentioned above. It’s actually due to a lack of sun exposure. Vitamin D is produced by our body when our skin is exposed to the sun. As little as 15 minutes in direct sunlight is all you need per day to create the amount of Vitamin D that you need. Most adults require 600 IU (International Units) of Vitamin D per day. (The more pigmented skin is – i.e. the darker it is – the more time you’ll need in the sun. Your recommended dietary allowance also increases.)
The limited amount of sun in the winter – only on our faces and the back of our necks, our desire to stay indoors and the lack of skin that’s exposed during the cold months, can make us begin exhibiting symptoms of a deficiency. Severe deficiencies can lead to the development of cardiovascular disease, multiple sclerosis or low bone density. More subtle Low Vitamin D symptoms include fatigue, mental fogginess and a muted immune system – affecting our ability to get over colds and the flu.
Fortunately, there are ways that you can replace Vitamin D until the sun shines again. Foods with Vitamin D include green, leafy vegetables, fish from the ocean and sun–dried produce such as mushrooms, peppers and tomatoes. But if you find it hard to have those foods in your diet on a daily basis, supplementation would be the best solution to get some of your energy back.
It is possible to develop a Vitamin D toxicity, so it’s best to speak with you health care practitioner or a nutritionist about your Vitamin D needs.
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