By Alecia Sexton
The arrival of the colder months means more time for some of our favorite activities: watching movies, drinking hot cocoa and cozying up inside with a board game. While there are many things to look forward to, there are also things to be mindful of. For one, Vitamin D deficiencies are extremely common in the chillier months.
Vitamin D is a hormone that our bodies produce when the cholesterol in our skin is exposed to the sun. It’s important for calcium absorption, nervous system functioning and overall hormone balance.
Some causes of a vitamin D deficiency include remaining indoors during the winter, a diet lacking in fish and seeds, and not enough exposure to our main source of Vitamin D, the sun.
When UV rays hit our skin, they convert stored cholesterol into fat-soluble vitamin D, so it’s important to spend some time outside everyday.
People who live in polluted cities, are allergic to dairy products, wear sunscreen everyday and who have darker skin are naturally more susceptible to vitamin D deficiencies.
Additional benefits of vitamin D include proper absorption of magnesium and iron, reduction in whole body inflammation, enhanced immune function and even reduced feelings of depression.
Common symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency, according to the Mayo Clinic, include achy bones, weakness, depression and sore/aching muscles. Luckily, there is something that can be done about it. After a chat with your healthcare professional, some remedies for a vitamin D deficiency include taking a supplement (found at local drug store), increasing consumption of fish and fish oils, and choosing more fortified foods such as cereals, breads, milks and yogurts.
Vitamin D has lifelong benefits, and making sure you sustain healthy levels can ensure proper immune function and even decrease the risk of some cancers that could arise later on in the future.
Editor’s Note: The Pioneer is not responsible for giving medical advice. Please refer to a medical professional for serious concerns regarding personal health.