Vitamin D for the Winter

 Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin most known for its role in maintaining proper bone health and density.  It is a necessary nutrient produced in the body through the skin’s exposure to the sun.  General daily sun exposure is usually enough to maintain healthy levels of this vitamin.  In winter when the sun is not in the sky as much and we are not outside as much using vitamin D supplements may be an option.

                                                                                      
Why is Vitamin D so important?

Because it has a positive affect on:

  • Heart Health
  • Immune system function
  • Bone Health
  • Calcium uptake
  • Integumentary System 
  • Mood

Over the past few years researchers have discovered Vitamin D has a wide range of health benefits, some of which are listed above.  Its role of maintaining a healthy immune system is what I want to talk address now as we are headed into the winter.   Commonly during winter there is a rise in colds and the flu, which makes it a good time to do what we can to stay healthy.   Knowing that Vitamin D can play a role is promising because we need it anyway for general health.  So making sure we get enough of it now may help us stave off the common cold or something more serious. 

Recent Study*

A study in Japan on vitamin D3 and bone density found that subjects taking the  supplement were three times less likely to report cold and flu symptoms.  These unintended findings led to more research. Further research was conducted and the findings indicated that subjects using a 1,200 of D3 were 58% less likely to catch influenza A.  The study included 334 subjects half received a placebo and half received Vitamin D3 1,200 units a day.  Out of these two groups 31 people in the placebo group caught influenza A and out of the group who supplemented with D3, 18 subjects caught influenza A.

Safety and Food Sources
Vitamin D is relatively safe, toxicity beginning to occour at around 50,000 IU’s a day.
Food sources of Vitamin D include fatty fish:

  • mackerel
  • sardines
  • salmon 
  • anchovies 

Many foods are also enriched with Vitamin D including milk and orange juice; egg yolks are also a good source of Vitamin D.  If you look to eggs for this nutrient and other nutrients it is best to source eggs from local chickens who have time in the yard to feed on insects and who receive healthy feed.

The Linus Pauling Institute at the University of Oregon is a great source for scientifically detailed information on Vitamin D and its benefits.

Another Excellent Source of Vitamin D is Fermented Cod Liver Oil.


 * American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, online March 10, 2010.

This blog is for informational purposes only.  It is not medical advice and is not intended to substitute medical advice from your doctor.  You should not use the information in this blog for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.