Vitamin D: The “sunshine” vitamin

During the winter months, we are spending more time inside and getting less sun exposure which can impact your naturally produced supply of Vitamin D. Keep reading to learn more about why Vitamin D is important, and how to get your daily dose.

Vitamin D, a fat soluble vitamin that also functions as a hormone, is essential for regulating minerals like calcium and phosphorus to maintain healthy bones. In addition to supporting muscle health, immune response, insulin levels and blood sugar levels, it has also been shown to support cognitive function, boost the immune system, and protect against hypertension.

There are three sources of Vitamin D:

  • Ultraviolet B (UVB) exposure: The human body can synthesize Vitamin D when sunlight strikes the skin. The amount of sunshine required to produce enough Vitamin D depends on age, skin type, season, time of day, use of sunscreen, amount of cloud cover, and so forth.
  • In some foods: Vitamin D can be found in some fatty fish (such as salmon and sardines) as well as cow’s milk, shiitake mushrooms, egg yolks and cod liver oil. Since Vitamin D is naturally present in so few foods, it is often fortified into dairy products, juices and cereals.
  • Vitamin D supplementation: Because there are so many variables with sun exposure and diet, Vitamin D supplements are widely available to ensure you are getting enough Vitamin D on a daily basis.

Indications you may need more Vitamin D include muscle aches and weaknesses, bone pain, lowered immunity, chronic low energy or fatigue, stunted growth and asthma (in children), or decreased cognitive function (in the elderly).