Vitamin D – Why it matters and how to get it during the winter months!
What does your body need daily that is hard to get during the Winter? The answer is “D”…Vitamin D!
Facts and Tips about this important vitamin, why it matters, and how to get it in during the winter months.
Vitamin D is an interesting vitamin because, unlike other vitamins, humans do not obtain the majority of the vitamin D we need from food. Humans get vitamin D from exposure to sunlight.
It is important to be conscious of the body’s level of Vitamin D, especially during the winter while many are not exposed to the sun as often as the rest of the year. Vitamin D is beneficial for virtually every healthy function in human bodies. The Vitamin D Council, a national non-profit organization based in San Luis Obispo, is sharing three facts and three tips about Vitamin D to keep in mind this winter.
People need vitamin D on a daily basis because it plays a role in almost every area of health. Vitamin D has been shown to help build a strong immune system, regulate blood pressure, maintain heart and mental health and helps your cells communicate and function properly.
During the winter, the angle of the sun means it is much harder for the short ultraviolet-B wavelengths that are responsible for vitamin D production to reach our skin. Plus, people spend the majority of their time indoors during the winter so sufficient vitamin D production from sunlight isn’t possible year round.
Anyone who lives above a latitude of 35 degrees North, which includes most of North America, are unable to obtain vitamin D from the sun for the majority of Fall and Winter. Depending on where you live, you may not be able to produce vitamin D from sunlight between October and April!
Sun exposure also carries benefits outside of vitamin D production. Ultraviolet A wavelengths help regulate blood pressure. Sun exposure also helps the body produce hormones that aid in elevating mood and decreasing stress.
During the day, the best times to go outside to get the vitamin D you need is between 10:00AM and 2:00PM. If you are outside and your shadow is shorter than you are tall, then you are making vitamin D from the sun.
If you are unable to go outside for some adequate, safe sun exposure, the next best bet would be to take 5,000 IU of vitamin D3 supplements on these days.
Tip # 3
To test your Vitamin D levels, the Vitamin D Council now offers a personal at-home test kit. A test kit can be ordered online at vitamindcouncil.org.