Vitamin-D, the crucial vitamin that is naturally produced by the skin’s exposure to sunlight, has been in the news a lot lately. As humans spend more time indoors, deficiencies become almost inevitable for many communities, particularly in countries like Canada that endure dark winters. As the days become shorter, we must take extra care in keeping Vitamin-D levels up.
Why is Vitamin-D so important? It helps to regulate the amounts of calcium and phosphate in the body, keeping bones, teeth, and muscles all healthy. Less time outdoors has been directly linked to the rise of rickets disease in children, as well as particular types of bone pain. Vitamin-D plays a crucial role in preventing fragile bones, of particular concern to elderly women.
Some recent studies have even linked Vitamin-D to reducing the risk of multiple sclerosis as well as the common flu. What it is probably best known for helping in, however, is fighting depression. The ‘Winter Blues’ are linked to a number of seasonal events, but it is more commonly accepted that a deficiency in Vitamin-D is a main factor.
Where can you get it? Between October and March, we generally do not produce enough – or in some cases, any – naturally. Supplements are therefore strongly recommended, but there are some foods that also help:
- Oily fish
- Red meat and liver
- Egg yolks
Read labels, as some foods sold in grocery stores are fortified with Vitamin-D. While these foods may increase Vitamin-D levels, it may not be possible to get enough, and supplements should still be taken.