Author: Annabelle Riley, Biology Student, UNC Chapel Hill
Winter has finally arrived, and many of us are already counting down the days until the sunshine returns! In this season of snow, cold, and dark afternoons, we could all use a little extra vitamin D. This essential nutrient is vital to bone, brain, and immune health, helping to strengthen our bones, increase immune response, and support cognitive function. In these winter months, the negative effects of vitamin D deficiency become more apparent, including fatigue, depression, and joint pain. By simply taking a daily D3 supplement, many patients find improvement in symptoms is quick to follow.
One of the most common and noticeable of these symptoms, fatigue, can heavily impact both our day-to-day lives and mental health during the colder seasons. Studies show that by adding a daily supplement to our winter routines, the fatigue associated with vitamin D deficiency can be decreased. Upon the conclusion of a 2016 study on the impact of D3 on self-perceived levels of fatigue, 48% of participants in the group treated with a D3 supplement self-reported significant improvement. This means that while we would never discourage you from booking a tropical vacation as a form of treatment, a daily D3 supplement is a much more effective course of action!
Whole Health’s Wellness Shop carries a variety of D3 supplements for adults and children that come in both softgels and liquids. You will also see D3 in combination with vitamin K2 on our shelves, as there is solid evidence revealing that taking D3 with K2 is of value. We know D3 helps the body absorb calcium, and the addition of K2 helps the body transport the calcium to the bones and teeth rather than letting it sit in the arteries and other soft tissues in the body. During the winter months, we recommend 5000iu daily for adult and children’s dosing varies with their size and age.
While we always recommend a supplement as your go-to, there are other additional sources of vitamin D that decrease these effects, such as fortified dairy free foods. Contrary to popular belief, cutting dairy from your diet does not have to limit your calcium and vitamin D intake. In many milk alternatives, including soy, rice, and almond milk, these nutrients are often added to prevent this deficit in your day-to-day nutrition plan. Another excellent source of vitamin D that can be easily incorporated into your winter diet is fish, such as our very favorite, salmon! If you are not a fan of seafood, a cod liver oil supplement is another natural source of vitamin D. Simply adjusting our nutrition and taking a daily supplement can help us to brave the cold over the next couple of months, maintaining our vitamin D intake while we wait for the sunshine to return!