How To Take Enough Vitamin D in Winter

Winter is the time when the skies are mostly overcast and the sun hardly comes out from behind the clouds. During this season one of the major problems that many people face is how to get the right amount of vitamin D. One thing that is worth noting is that your body will not understand that it is during the winter. Its requirement levels of vitamin D will not go down, so you have to ensure that you get the right amount. So where do you find vitamin D during the winter?

Why Should We Worry About Getting Sunshine?

Sunshine helps us get our vitamin D. The deficiency leads to high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer's disease, strokes, diabetes and an accelerated aging process. An adequate intake of vitamin D helps in regulating calcium and phosphorus absorption, this is vital for maintaining healthy bones and teeth. The vitamin also offers protection against multiple diseases such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, and type 1 diabetes. 

So How Do We Get That Vital Vitamin D?

There are foods that are fortified with vitamin D besides natural foods such as butter, eggs, mushrooms, wild salmon, flax seed oil that are rich in the vitamin. Cholesterol is a precursor of vitamin D; it is stored under the skin. When the skin is exposed to sunlight the precursor undergoes a photochemical reaction and turns to vitamin D. 

The best way to get that vitamin D is to eat well and bask in the sun for a few minutes every day. In fact, it is best to sit out under the open sky where the sun plays peekaboo. This way, you will get to bask without worrying about getting enough sunlight. You should get at least 15 minutes in the midday sun during winter. This time varies from person to person depending on their skin tone. Darker people may need a longer exposure. 

The other factor to consider is the altitude of the place. The higher you are the closer to the sun, the more vitamin D you make. However, note the cloud cover as if there is much of cloud cover the light may be blocked, then you may need to bask longer. Beware of overexposure as this may cause sunburn and skin cancer. There are some smartphone applications that help you monitor the exposure and the exact dose of sunlight. 

Vitamin D also travels along the food chain, this means that the plants and animals we eat bring us some vitamin D too. Thus, if we are not getting enough sunlight the foods we consume to make up for the deficiency. The liver is rich in vitamin D as all the fat-soluble vitamins are stored in the fatty tissues of the animal body. The excess vitamin D accumulated in the liver provides you with a source of vitamin D to draw on when your stores are running low.

How To Get Vitamin D Year-Round

  • Bask for 15 minutes in the sun each day in the spring, summer, and fall. 
  • Eat two servings of a fatty fish or liver every week. Try the wild salmon from November through March.
  • Vegetarians must drink 3 cups of vitamin D-fortified milk. They come is a great variety such as cow, almond, and soy. 
  • Liquid Vitamin D is better absorbed than its pill form. 

The recommended daily allowance of vitamin D is 600IU a day and 800IU for seniors above 70 years of age. However, note that high levels of vitamin D cause kidney stones and permanent renal damage. There are many supplement manufacturers in both offline and online market offering vitamin D in various forms according to what your physician will suggest.

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