How Important Is It to Take Vitamin D in the Winter Period?
Some recent studies have shown that taking vitamin D significantly reduces the risk of colds and flu during the winter. We explain why it’s called the “sunshine vitamin” and why we need it more than ever.
Why is Taking Vitamin D in the winter is Essential?
Not having enough vitamin D in our bodies is linked to tiredness and moodiness during the winter. In fact, it has been during this period that we have lacked this vitamin, precisely because we have not been exposed to the sun much. However, a recent study published in the British Medical Journal suggests that adding more vitamin D to our diets can make us healthier. It can reduce the risk of colds, flu, and other respiratory infections such as pneumonia and bronchitis.
We know that the daily or weekly consumption of vitamin D supplements has a general benefit for our body. Also, vitamin D is commonly known as the sunshine vitamin. This is because the sun’s rays on the skin are our main way of producing it. From March to September, the sun favors the synthesis of vitamin D from cholesterol in the skin, so little sun means very low production of vitamin D.
Therefore, vitamin D is one of the most important vitamins that we need to supplement during the winter months. In fact, we need sunshine vitamin to help the body absorb calcium and phosphate from our diet. These minerals are important for healthy bones, teeth, and muscles. They are therefore important in helping to reduce the risk of osteoporosis later in life. This is especially important for coffee drinkers, as drinking caffeine causes our bodies to lose calcium.
Are You Deficient in the Sunshine Vitamin?
Vitamin D deficiency in the general population can lead to weaker bones, decreased immune function (and therefore a high frequency of colds), a lower mood, and fatigue. It should also be noted that, during the fall and winter, all children and adults should take supplements with a minimum of ten micrograms of vitamin D per day. This would not only help our immune system but also our bones. In fact, this vitamin is essential for bone mineral density and muscle strength.
Too little vitamin D can still pose a health risk and lead to some particular deficiencies. Low blood levels of this vitamin have been associated with an increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment in the elderly, severe asthma in children, and even cancer in some cases.
How Can You Get More Vitamin D?
Eat more fish, mushrooms, eggs, and fortified cereals. Furthermore, in spring or summer, if you follow a healthy, balanced, varied, and not excessively elaborate diet and, if you then combine it with short exposures to the sun’s rays, it may not be necessary to take a supplement. But to get enough vitamin D from food sources in the colder, darker months, you need to eat plenty of fatty fish like sardines, salmon, and mackerel.
It’s also found in dairy products, but you’d probably need to eat seven or eight pots of yogurt along with two or three tubs of berries or a 10–11 egg omelet to even get close to the recommended amount! Many cereals, juices, and milk alternatives are fortified with vitamin D. However, again, you’d need about 10 bowls of cereal with two to three glasses of juice.
We recommend supplementing with at least 10 mcg during the winter or fall months for most of us. Supplements offer a quick and effective way to make sure you’re getting your daily dose, especially if you’re not consciously trying to include vitamin D-rich foods in your diet. So, go online to herbal shops to find the best natural sunshine vitamin supplements available on the market.
You can also eat more fatty fish during this period (if you are not a vegetarian or vegan) and more eggs, tofu, and mushrooms, which are foods with a good presence of sunshine vitamin in them.