The days are getting shorter, the chill is picking up, and suddenly we have to start thinking about layers again. Which can only mean one thing: Winter is coming, and we won’t be getting much sun for a few months. Often this leads to a lack of vital vitamin D consumption — but getting plenty of it will be the secret to staying healthy this winter.
The “sunshine vitamin” plays a role in so many of our body’s important functions, and we conveniently get it right from the sun. But now that our skin will be seeing a whole lot less sunshine, it’s time to think about other ways to fill our quota. Dr. Allan Stewart MD says staying diligent about our levels is something most Americans should think about.
“Vitamin D deficiency affects 40-50 percent of the US population, a statistic that only increases during the fall and winter months,” Dr. Stewart says. “Fall also marks the beginning of cold and flu season. Meeting your daily recommended Vitamin D intake is essential to help the body fight off viruses and provides critical immune system support.”
Unfortunately, Stewart says vitamin D is “not naturally occurring in many foods, and many people obtain their necessary levels from fortified foods.”
That’s why he works with ShineWater, a tasty line of drinks each feature a full helping of the daily recommended levels of Vitamin D. Getting the daily helping through liquid helps the vitamin go straight to our bloodstream, making it a great way to make sure our bodies get the nourishment they need. But if you like sticking to traditional supplements, Stewarts says these “provide the same health benefits.”
Along with ShineWater (Buy on Amazon, $27), Stewart recommend foods like milk, “one of the most popular fortified products through the addition of adding Vitamin D concentrate.”
Health Benefits of Vitamin D
Vitamin D supports bone health by regulating calcium absorption, which is why drinking milk is a great one-two punch of benefits. But the “sunshine vitamin” is also great for heart health! According to a 2008 study, being deficient can lead to a greater risk of heart disease.
It doesn’t just boost our physical health. It also plays a role in regulating our moods. Another 2008 study found that people with depression who were given supplements noticed an improvement in their moods and symptoms. That’s why you might find yourself feeling a bit happier after a day in the sun, and gloomy during cloudy days. The lack of sun exposure during the winter turns plenty of people blue.
So to keep from feeling sick this winter, or a bit down, it might be a good idea to start taking vitamin D supplements now. Of course, it’s always a good idea to talk to your doc first, but it could just be the boost you need to feel your best — and keep your bones strong — as the temps drop.