The Importance of Vitamin D & The Risk Of Vitamin D Deficiency From Oct – June
While the warm weather of summer fades away and the cold months of winter are approaching, many of us are preparing to adjust our lives accordingly to meet the changing seasons. Snow tires, flu shots, and warmer clothes will all be needed in anticipation of the coming colder months. The changing of seasons affects all of us in one way or another, but many of us may not realize the various ways it can affect our health. For some, the months of October thru June put us at risk of Vitamin D deficiency.
Why Do We Need Vitamin D?
Unlike other vitamins, vitamin D is transformed by our bodies into a hormone called calcitriol which causes our bones to absorb calcium. It’s an important function since our bones need calcium in order to remain strong and healthy. Vitamin D also plays a role in muscle movement, in supporting our nervous system, and in helping our immune system protect us from disease and infection.
Without a regular supply of vitamin D, we could become deficient. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to a number of health hazards including bone pain, weaker muscles, or even osteoporosis.
How Much Is Enough?
The ideal amount of vitamin D varies depending on a number of factors including diet, skin tone, and exposure to sunlight. Some people may get all the vitamin D they need from sunlight alone, though this is much less likely in colder climates, especially during winter. You can get vitamin D from certain foods like fish, eggs yolks, and dairy products, but even so, you may need supplements if your vitamin D levels are too low.
In dietary terms, vitamin D is measured in IU’s, or International Units. Most people between the ages of 1-70 require about 600 IU’s a day according to the FNB (Food and Nutrition Board).
With all this in mind, it’s important to be aware of your vitamin D intake, especially as the days get shorter and sunlight becomes less. If you’re concerned about your vitamin D levels or think you may need a supplement, be sure to schedule a visit with your physician. It’s a small step that could keep you healthy and strong throughout your lifetime.