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Getting Enough Vitamin D in the Winter

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You’ve probably heard that vitamin D is essential for maintaining calcium balance. When your vitamin D levels drop, so does calcium absorption. And that can lead to weaker, more brittle bones.

But vitamin D does a lot more:

  • It regulates more than 50 genes.
  • It helps control blood pressure.
  • It’s involved in immune-cell regulation.
  • And vitamin D stimulates cell differentiation – the process that assures your body makes the right number of the right kinds of cells.

With all these critical functions, you can see why it’s important to get enough Vitamin D.

But winter’s shorter, colder days rob you of your best natural source of vitamin D: the sun.

So how do you get enough vitamin D in winter? It can be harder than you think… but in the next few moments, I’ll show you how to make sure you get enough of this key nutrient.

Sunshine – Your #1 Source of Vitamin D

Exposing your skin to sunlight triggers the production of vitamin D. But the winter sun is weak, and we tend to bundle up in winter. So the ultraviolet B (UVB) rays that normally stimulate vitamin D formation can’t do their job.

And – even though it feels good – bright winter sun shining through your windows won’t help. Window glass blocks the UVB rays that stimulate vitamin D production.

So, from November through February, many of us need other sources of vitamin D.

Can UV Light Therapy Help?

In recent years, UV therapy has gotten a lot of press. Special lamps can produce UV light similar to sunlight. By exposing your skin to these lamps, your body is stimulated to produce vitamin D.

And studies show that these lamps can increase vitamin D levels effectively.1 But I don’t think they’re practical for most people.

These lamps cost hundreds of dollars. And in the studies I’ve seen, the subjects had to set aside time daily for close exposure to the lamps.2 That’s simply not convenient for many people… especially at the steep price.

Fortunately, UV lamps aren’t your only option for vitamin D.

Getting Vitamin D From Food 

Some dairy foods, soy milks, cereals and other packaged foods are fortified with vitamin D. But they may not give you enough.

You see, as we get older, our ability to make vitamin D decreases. So the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends mature adults get at least 600 International Units (IU) of vitamin D every day.

By the time you’re 70, you’d have to drink an awful lot of milk to meet your vitamin D requirement.

Plus, using fortified foods as a source of vitamin D may be better than nothing. But I recommend using natural sources. My research has convinced me that natural vitamins are far more effective than the synthetic chemicals used to fortify foods.

Unfortunately, very few natural foods contain high amounts of vitamin D.

Eggs, for instance, are considered one of the better sources. But you’d have to eat ten eggs a day to meet your requirement at age 45. And you’d have to pack away a whopping 30 eggs every day to get enough vitamin D by the time you’re in your 70’s!

The only food source with large amounts of vitamin D is fatty fish. Tuna, sardines, mackerel and salmon can provide from 200 – 360 IU per serving. (Tuna and sardines packed in water have much lower levels.)

For a real vitamin D boost, no food beats cod liver oil. Just one tablespoon has 1,360 IU of natural vitamin D. That’s more than double the DV – even if you’re over 70.

But not everyone can stomach cod liver oil. And fatty fish can also raise mercury concerns. Most people – especially children and pregnant women – shouldn’t eat fish every day.

Your Best Bet to Get the D You Need

That’s just one reason I recommend a natural multi-vitamin/mineral supplement to all my patients. It’s especially important in winter… when your vitamin D levels are at risk. Besides, fresh fruits and vegetables are also less available in winter. So you can use a little “nutrition insurance” anyway.

Of course, I recommend Bestlife Herbal’s Men’s Daily Formula. It’s packed with the essential nutrients you need to be at your best every day. And that includes plenty of the vitamin D that’s critical to so many of your body’s life-sustaining processes.

At the end of the day, it’s the easiest, surest way to be sure you’re getting enough vitamin D.
 

Dr. Kenneth Woliner, M.D.
Best Life Herbals

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1 Stamp TCB, et al. Comparison of Oral 25-Hydroxycholecalciferol, Vitamin D, and Ultraviolet Light as Determinants of Circulating 25-Hydroxyvitamin D. The Lancet, Volume 309, Issue 8026, Pages 1341 – 1343, 25 June 1977.
2 Chandra P, et al. Treatment of vitamin D deficiency with UV light in patients with malabsorption syndromes: a case series. Photodermatol Photoimmunol Photomed. 2007 Oct;23(5):179-85.
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