should i take a vitamin d supplement in the winter?
Of course, getting all your vitamins and minerals through food is ideal, however vitamin D is the exception! I strongly recommend everyone should supplement with vitamin D this winter for the following 3 reasons!
reasons to take vitamin d
1. Vitamin D Is Minimal In Food
Vitamin D is not available in food in the required daily amounts to maintain good health. As an adult, you need 600-1,000 IU of vitamin D per day. A 100 mg serving of tuna or salmon only contains 200 IU. Certain foods like cereals, milk and orange juice are fortified with extra vitamin D, however the amounts are still minimal. And we have all heard of cod liver oil, it contains vitamin D but doesn’t have the most pleasant taste. Incorporating these foods into your diet will prevent a Vitamin D deficiency, but may not be enough for optimal health.
2. Not Enough Exposure To The Sun
Do you live in North America? Then you live far, far away from the equator and your amount of exposure to the sun in the winter is limited. Are you familiar with waking up and going to work before the sun rises? And then leaving work and it is already dark outside? Even if you go outside on your lunch break, you will be all bundled up due to the frigid weather that the only part of your face exposed to the sun will be your face! Sunlight stimulates your skin to produce vitamin D, and limited exposure to the sun during the winter months can easily lead to a vitamin D deficiency.
3. Vitamin D Helps Certain Health Conditions
Do you suffer from seasonal affective disorder, depression, anxiety, frequent colds and flus, autoimmune conditions, eczema, psoriasis, asthma or allergies? Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to these conditions and people who have them often need higher therapeutic amounts of vitamin D to help improve their condition.
Children require lower doses of vitamin D, typically between 400-600 IU per day. It is best to discuss supplementation with any vitamin with your child’s primary health care provider to determine the dose that is right for them.
As always, taking a new vitamin or mineral supplement should be discussed with your primary health care provider before starting to make sure it is right for your individual situation and to determine what amount is best for you.
Have a happy winter season!
Dr. Ellen Simone, Naturopath