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Supplementing With Vitamin D in Winter

Should you top up your diet with a supplement during the colder months?

 

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Vitamin D Supplements in Winter

Last year, Public Health England’s official recommendations were updated to suggest we should all supplement our diet with Vitamin D during the winter.

This is because we get the majority of our Vitamin D from sunlight – and it’s difficult to get enough from food alone. During winter, you’ve probably noticed we don’t get much sun here in the UK! To add to that, we cover as much of our skin as possible whenever we leave the house, and daylight hours are reduced significantly. The shortest day of the year is up to 9 hours shorter than the longest.

This makes it almost impossible for us to get enough Vitamin D during the winter months. But should you top it up with a supplement? Here are two key winter health benefits of Vitamin D supplements:

1. Vitamin D Supports Your Immune System

There are a whole load of bugs flying round at the moment, so this one is important if you’re feeling run down – or keep catching those pesky colds! Research has consistently demonstrated the link between the ‘sunshine vitamin’ and your immune system.

As well as protecting you against winter bugs, Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to an overwhelming number of illnesses, which includes:

  • heart disease,
  • diabetes,
  • some cancers (e.g. bowel cancer),
  • asthma and allergies.

There are many ways to improve your immune system during winter. Whilst you shouldn’t rely on Vitamin D alone, the evidence certainly suggests a daily supplement would be a good idea.

2. Vitamin D Supports Your Mental Health

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is thought to affect 1 in 15 of us in the UK, myself included. This is a common form of depression, caused by the reduction in daylight that hits during the winter months. Many more people experience “winter blues”, a milder version of SAD.

Research suggests Vitamin D deficiency may play an important role in the low mood experienced with both of these

I always find Vitamin D supplements helpful in reducing my SAD symptoms. If you suffer from low mood during the winter months, why not give it a try yourself?

The NHS recommends adults take a supplement of 10mcg per day, between September and March. If you don’t get outside much, wear clothes that cover up most of your skin, or have darker skin, you should consider taking a supplement all year round.

 

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