08 Sep THE IMPORTANCE OF VITAMIN D INTAKE
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble hormone that is found in very few foods, but in the skin through the form of ultraviolet radiation. This “Superman” of the vitamin family helps to fight off disease, depression, chronic fatigue and immune deficiency. It’s important for calcium absorption and thus helps to strengthen bones and teeth.
Being active helps, but winter sun exposure is often not enough. When we go out in the frigid temperatures, we cover ourselves head to toe in layers. Athletes who remain active on ski slopes or doing long runs or biking sessions may be able to get by on the small amounts they absorb through their uncovered faces. But if you’re like most of the population, you’re probably deficient in the winter.
If you’re not able to get at least 10-15 minutes a day of good, unprotected sun exposure, you may want to take an over the counter supplement. Between 1,000 and 2,000 IU (International Units) of vitamin D are recommended daily. You can get these at any health food or grocery store. I recommend starting with 1,000 IU capsules unless you have had the proper tests done by your physician and they recommend more. It is imperative at some point to have your vitamin D levels tested, but the good news is that if they are low, it’s very easy to get back on track.
Lastly, you can get some of the “Superman” vitamin from the intake of foods, such as fish oil, salmon, fortified milk, and some cereals and soy products that are also fortified with vitamin D. Whatever your choice is, it’s important to be aware of your levels and to maintain them as much as possible throughout the colder months. It could be the easiest fix to your lack of energy or seasonal depression.