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Best 5 Approaches To Address Vitamin D Insufficiency This Winter

What exactly is vitamin D? You may be familiar with it as the sunlight vitamin, but what functions does it serve in your body and why is it more important during winter?

Vitamin D plays diverse roles, such as aiding in the absorption of calcium for strong bones. Additionally, it enhances immunity against infections and reduces inflammation, which is crucial in the winter months when cold and flu viruses are more prevalent. It might even lower the risk of cancer.

Regrettably, many individuals do not meet their recommended daily intake during the colder seasons. How can you prevent deficiency and enjoy the advantages? Here are five strategies to combat vitamin D insufficiency this winter.

1. Indulge in a Hearty Breakfast

The initial meal of the day may not always be the most crucial, but it holds significance in the winter. Why? The following foods are excellent natural sources of vitamin D and provide other nutritional benefits:

  • Egg yolks
  • Fortified cereals
  • Fortified juices and milk
  • Molasses

Having another incentive to relish a hearty Sunday brunch. Many of these foods are also convenient for quick consumption, making them ideal for busy workday mornings.

2. Engage in Fishing

Seafood serves as another abundant source of vitamin D. Moreover, these meals offer additional nutrients that your body requires, such as omega-3 fatty acids. There are three types of this nutrient — docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), and alpha-linolenic acid. DHA and EPA are naturally found in fish, though some eggs are fortified with DHA.

Which dishes should you consider adding to your menu? Salmon, tuna, and shellfish are all notable sources of vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids. Tuna is particularly advantageous due to its affordability, which is crucial in the current era of rising food costs. Concerned about mercury levels? Opt for chunk light tuna in water over albacore — it comes from a smaller fish with lower mercury concentrations.

3. Utilize a Supplement

Even if you maintain a healthy diet, you are human. Occasionally, everyone opts for chips for dinner rather than preparing a tuna salad. Luckily, you can ensure you combat vitamin D insufficiency this winter by incorporating a supplement.

Firstly, it is important to note that you might encounter two different variations of this supplement on store shelves — D2 and D3. What sets them apart and which one should you opt for?

  • D2 – Also known as ergocalciferol, this form only comes from foods.
  • D3 Your body synthesizes this type — referred to as cholecalciferol — from sunlight. It is also present in food.

Both types of vitamin D serve similar functions in the body. Nevertheless, studies suggest that D3 supplementation leads to higher blood levels of the hormone compared to D2. While some prescription vitamin D supplements contain D2, opting for D3 is preferable when selecting over-the-counter products.

4. Spend Time Outdoors (Depending On Your Location)

Were you aware that the sun is the ultimate supplier of vitamin D? Moreover, your body will not produce an excess beyond its requirement, diminishing the risk of overdose. Additionally, exposing your skin to natural light for at least 10 to 15 minutes daily feels invigorating.

However, this approach may not be effective in the winter if you reside in Boston or Seattle. Individuals living above the 37° parallel north of the equator — a significant portion of the United States — might not receive adequate vitamin D from sunlight during the months with the shortest days. In such instances, increasing your supplement and food intake is necessary.

5. Consider a UV Lamp

Do you experience seasonal affective disorder? If so, you might be aware that a UV lamp simulating natural sunlight can help alleviate your symptoms. Surprisingly, it may also assist in combating vitamin D insufficiency during the winter, providing a dual benefit.

However, exercise caution when selecting a lamp — certain models solely elevate UVB without UVA exposure. Opting for one that emits both types might be more effective in aiding your body in utilizing more of this nutrient.

Addressing Vitamin D Insufficiency in Winter

Vitamin D is a vital nutrient that plays various roles in promoting optimal health. It is especially crucial during the coldest season as it enhances immune function. Nonetheless, this is also the time when many people tend to fall short.

Implement the above strategies to combat vitamin D insufficiency this winter. By doing so, you could decrease your susceptibility to illnesses and enhance your overall well-being.

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