As the days continue to get shorter, we’re losing more than just a few hours of sunlight. Less sunlight means our bodies’ ability to produce vitamin D is also diminished. Many people in northern latitudes have a vitamin D deficiency because the amount of sunlight during the winter months is not enough to promote the production of vitamin D by the skin.
To make enough vitamin D naturally, you need 15-20 minutes of unprotected sun exposure during summer months (this means no sunscreen and not through windows). Vitamin D deficiency has been linked with high blood pressure, increased risk for certain types of cancer (including colon and breast), autoimmune conditions, mood disorders, osteoporosis, diabetes, and skin conditions.
Thankfully, there are several ways to ensure you get enough vitamin D during the winter months – 1000 IU per day for adults and 400-800 IU per day for children. One option is to take a supplement–we do this…and we include foods in our diet that contain vitamin D. Some of these foods include milk and other enhanced dairy products, salmon, mackerel, sardines, tuna, herring,whole eggs, and UV-irradiated mushrooms.
How do you ensure you get enough vitamin D during the winter months?