If you’re a regular reader of the CareCo blog you’ll know how much we like to extol the virtues of a healthy diet, especially over winter. A balanced diet ensures you get all the vitamins and minerals you need for your body to battle illness and to perform at its optimum levels.
What you might not realise, however, is that even following a strict balanced diet can still leave you lacking in certain vitamins. Known as the sunshine vitamin (it is produced in response to the skin’s exposure to sunlight), vitamin D is very important to your body for a number of reasons. And winter – being the seasonal villain it is – can really prevent you from getting enough of it. Read on to find out why you need vitamin D and why you might be suffering from a deficiency.
Why Is Vitamin D Good for You?
If you’ve ever wondered why your mood takes a significant hit over the winter, or why your skin seems to be particularly dry, then you might be suffering from a vitamin D deficiency. Aside from being good for your skin and your mood, vitamin D can also:
- Treating or preventing cancers, chronic pain, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and flu, as well as many other illnesses.
- Help the body to absorb calcium and strengthen bones.
- Play an important role in the life cycle of cells.
Causes of Vitamin D Deficiency
Diet: Of course, some people do get the required levels of vitamin D from their diet. But if you follow a strict vegan diet then you’re probably missing out. Most of the natural sources of vitamin D are animal-based. So if you often avoid fish and fish oils, cheese, milk and eggs, it’s likely you aren’t getting enough of the vitamin.
Limited exposure to sunlight: If you live in a country that gets very little sunlight for large parts of the year (hello Britain!) then you are more at risk of vitamin D deficiency. The body produces much of its required levels of vitamin D when your skin is exposed to sunshine, so if you spend a lot of time indoors (perhaps due to a mobility issue) or you just haven’t been away to soak up those rays for a while, then it’s likely you’re running low.
Existing health issues: Some people suffer from health issues which prevent their body from absorbing enough vitamin D. As we age, our kidneys become less able to convert the vitamin into its active form. And medical problems like Crohn’s, celiac disease and cystic fibrosis can prevent your intestine from absorbing vitamin D from the food you eat.
Worried you might have a vitamin D deficiency? The SAD Therapy Light uses blue spectrum light tubes to simulate natural daylight, and can boost production of vitamin D in the body. Alternatively, book a holiday abroad in sunnier climes and make the most of the sunshine!