Reduced vitamin D levels may contribute to temporary issues like feeling sad or depressed, but long term deficiency may contribute to body aches, cardiovascular risks, or other more serious issues. As we head into the darker, colder months of winter, it’s important to think about this vitamin and do our best to get enough of it.
Many people notice their aches and pains are a bit worse during the winter. Some notice they aren’t as happy during the winter and may be irritable or feel depressed. This may be a result of lowered vitamin D levels. How can we make sure we’re getting enough? The easiest way to get a good dose of vitamin D it is to expose our skin to sunlight for 10 or 15 minutes a day. But when it’s rainy, cold, and dark outside, that’s not always an option. Fortified foods are also a great way to get vitamin D, but we don’t always eat as healthy as we should during the winter holiday months.
This winter, consider coming in, having us write you up a lab slip, and taking it to the draw station of your choice. Good vitamin D levels are anywhere from 40 ng/mL and up. If you are deficient, take a vitamin D supplement. Even just 2,000 IU per day could make a huge difference in how you feel (those with severely low levels will need to take more, possibly 5,000 IU per day– we’ll help you decide).
Luckily, bottles of vitamin D are easy to find at most supermarkets and drug stores and are pretty low-cost. Vitamin 3 (animal source, more common) is easier for your body to absorb, but vitamin D2 is an option for vegans or those with specific animal allergies.