Winter is Here! Why You Still Need Vitamin D
We are officially in the middle of an Alberta winter where the sun is only out for what seems like 4 hours a day!
By now you have probably heard that most Albertans are severely lacking in Vitamin D. You may be thinking “Okay, no big deal!” Vitamin D has amazing benefits and lacking it can put you at risk to being more susceptible to colds and flu. Let’s explore what the “Sunshine” vitamin has to offer!
Benefits of Vitamin D
- Vitamin D can support the immune system and fight inflammation
- Vitamin D can help battle depression
- Vitamin D can help strengthen oral health
- Vitamin D can help strengthen muscles
There are plenty of benefits to taking this vitamin but we suggest speaking with a doctor or nurse to see if your levels need to be increased. Too much Vitamin D can also be problematic. Moderation is key!
Factors that might affect your Vitamin D levels
Where you live. If you live in the Great White North you are at higher risk for a Vitamin D deficiency. This is because your skin may not be able to produce any vitamin D from sun exposure during the winter months.
Your age. Your skin’s ability to produce Vitamin D drops with age.
Your weight. If you have a body mass index above 30, you may have low blood levels of Vitamin D. Vitamin D is stored in fat, so in people with obesity, less of the vitamin circulates in the blood, where it’s available for use by the body.
The foods you eat. Very few foods naturally contain vitamin D. Breakfast cereals and some types of orange juice may also be fortified, but this varies by brand. So, the amount of vitamin D you get from food depends on the food you eat and how much milk you drink.
Certain health conditions. People with conditions such as IBS, liver disease, or cystic fibrosis may have trouble absorbing vitamin D, which can lead to deficiencies.
Aside from the sun, you can also get extra Vitamin D through a few foods, like fatty fish and mushrooms. Foods like milk, orange juice, yogurt, and breakfast cereals can also be fortified with Vitamin D. You can always go the supplement route, in the form of Vitamin D3, if your doctor thinks it’s necessary.