Many people (especially those who live in cold climates) are wondering how to get vitamin D in the winter. You probably know that the body needs to be exposed to sunrays to produce vitamin D. However, many people are deficient in vitamin D. People who live in cold climates are especially prone to vitamin D deficiency. People who are over 60 are also at risk, as well as dark-skinned people. When exposed to sunrays (at least four times a week), white skin can produce sufficient amounts of vitamin D in nearly twenty minutes. Dark skin takes more time to produce vitamin D, which is why dark-skinned people have to spend more time in the sun. This can be difficult if you are housebound for any reason, or you simply live in a country with not much sun.
Why Do We Need Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is important for several reasons.
● It is necessary for proper absorption of phosphorus and calcium.
● It is necessary for keeping the body’s defense mechanism strong.
● It has an important role in development of the body, especially when it comes to bones.
Vitamin D deficiency can lead to serious health problems, and it is usually accompanied by the following symptoms:
● Bone fractures
● Tooth delay in infants
● Rickets in children
In people who suffer from hypertension, type II diabetes, obesity and high cholesterol, vitamin D deficiency can worsen these problems.
According to several researches, vitamin D deficiency is related to depression. This condition is usually caused by severe deficiency, so it is usually accompanied by other symptoms.
How to Get Vitamin D
● Vitamin D is normally found in foods like eggs, dairy products, fish oil and meat. It is also added to formula milk and breakfast cereals. Babies should consume both mother’s milk and formula. Human milk is extremely important for the baby, but it does not contain enough vitamin D.
● Fortified breakfast cereals can be a good option for vegetarians. However, the quantities of vitamin D found in foods are not satisfactory. After all, if we ate a lot of eggs, meat and fatty dairy products every day, that would be quite unhealthy. Therefore, we cannot only rely on foods. We have to spend time in the sun to get vitamin D.
● During the winter, this can be a problem. However, try to use as much sunlight as you can. Even if it is cold outside, if you see the sun, go for a walk and spend some time in the sun without wearing any sunscreen. Expose your face to the sun for at least twenty minutes. (If you are dark-skinned, you will need thirty minutes, or more).
● Tanning beds are not very popular these days; these devices are believed to increase the risk of getting skin cancer. However, during the winter months, you can visit some beauty salon and see if they have sun showers. There is no need to spend too much time in there. Several minutes will be quite enough. Your skin will be exposed to UV radiation and vitamin D will be synthesized. Of course, you must never use a sun shower without consulting your dermatologist. If your skin is sensitive, it will be better not to use sun showers.
● Vitamin D supplements are used for keeping vitamin D levels normal during winter. Talk to your doctor about these products. Your vitamin D levels will be measured, and you will be given vitamin D supplements to use during the cold months.