If you feel especially tired or depressed during the cold season, vitamin D deficiency is probably the reason. But even if you don't feel that way, it's still important to ensure that you get enough vitamin D daily. Why is it so essential for your health? Read on to find out!
Everyone knows that vitamins are important for our health. Some vitamins, however, are harder to obtain than others—for example, vitamin D.
In fact, it’s not actually a real vitamin, despite its name. Vitamins are nutrients that we receive in the products we eat, or in the form of pills when we don’t eat enough vitamin-rich products. There are some other ways to receive enough vitamins (for example, by drinking green juices), but there’s no way for the body to produce these vitamins on its own. We can only source them from different products.
On the other hand, vitamin D is produced by the body. In fact, our body synthesises it automatically when exposed to sunlight. Therefore, it’s more appropriate to call vitamin D a prohormone.
Given that our bodies start synthesising vitamin D when sun rays touch our skin, it’s logical to assume that we receive more vitamin D in spring and summer, when the days are sunnier and generally longer. As such, we often don’t receive much vitamin D during the cold season, when the days are short and the weather is more cloudy.
Usually, that’s the reason why many people feel so depressed and de-energised in winter. By that time, most of the vitamin D we store from summer is gone—and so some of us might decide to take it in form of the pills to feel better.
But these aren’t the only reasons to start taking vitamin D. If you are (or plan to become) physically active, consider adding this vitamin to your regimen. This could help you build muscle tissue, endure your training better, and so on. Let’s get into more details on that.
Probably the most well-known and important benefit of vitamin D intake; it promotes the absorption of calcium and also helps to maintain its concentration in the blood. Furthermore, vitamin D helps to maintain the mineralisation of bones.
This doesn’t simply make your bones stronger—it also helps to strengthen your muscles. What a nice additional perk, don’t you think?
True, the muscles are rarely associated with fat. However, vitamin D deficiency could actually make your muscles fatty, also making the likelihood of fat infiltration in them greater. This isn’t just unpleasant to hear, it also affects their strength, possibly even leading to worse physical functioning.
Vitamin D boosts your immunity and could prevent the development of various autoimmune diseases. This means that your risk of catching the flu during the cold season could lessen significantly. You may also feel more energised, perform physical activity to a higher degree, and generally feel better—especially during the cold season, when it’s hard to stay positive and full of energy.
Recommended daily vitamin D intake depends on different factors—not only age, but also race, season, exposure to the sun, and so on. But general recommendations are the following:
• Babies up to the age of one year require 8.5–10mcg/μg of vitamin D daily.
• Children (one year and older) and adults require 10mcg/μg of vitamin D daily (includes those most at risk of vitamin D deficiency and women who either breastfeed or are pregnant).
Most people get enough vitamin D from about late-March or early-April right to the end of September. After that, it’s good to rely on food and vitamin supplements to avoid vitamin D deficiency.
Though there aren’t many sources of vitamin D besides sunlight, you could still find it the following foods:
• Red meat
• Oily fish (mostly fresh tuna, herring, mackerel, salmon, and sardines)
• Egg yolk
• Various fortified foods like some breakfast cereals or fat spreads
And, of course, you could take dietary supplements to receive your daily dose of vitamin D.
As you can see, while vitamin D technically isn’t a vitamin at all, it’s just as important for our health and wellbeing. So if you’re feeling unwell, tired, or depressed, or simply feel like you don’t get enough of this vitamin, consider adding some of the foods mentioned above to your diet or trying dietary supplements rich in vitamin D.