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Fact is there are fewer hours of daylight as fall moves into winter and we may wish there was more sun to be had during certain times of the year but we need to accept it’s not going to happen, so it’s important to know where to find similar nutrition as that which the sun provides. Is exposure to direct sunlight the best (and free) way to get Vitamin D? It is, but you can make up for the lack of sunshine during winter by taking Vitamin D supplements. You might ask why is Vitamin D important and we’re here to cover just that.
For starters, Vitamin D is incredibly important for proper immune system function. It’s also key for calcium homeostasis and calcium absorption as it contributes to good bone health. Plus, when Vitamin D is broken down, one of the metabolites from it helps muscles with efficient contracting and relaxing.
So yes, Vitamin D from the sun is great and a natural fit for your needs if you live somewhere near the equator. But if you’re in more northern climes like the rest of us here in North America then there’s probably going to be times of the year – if not all year round – where it will be best to top up your Vitamin D levels with supplements. We’ve laid out the basics for why is Vitamin D important, but there’s more to it than that.
All vitamins are vital to one extent or another, but let’s look at this one in greater detail here and also talk about how your diet can be a way to get more Vitamin D too. Vitamin D supplements are great, but there are plenty of nutritionists, dieticians, and the like who’ll tell you the best way to get the amounts of this vitamin you need is with what you choose to have at the end of your fork.
The ‘2’ or ‘3’ attached to the end of some Vitamin D is because there’s more than one type, another is known as Vitamin D2, is there because there’s more than one type of Vitamin D. Vitamin D2 mainly comes from plants, and people get their Vitamin D3 from animal-sourced foods. Many of the foods that you buy on the shelves at your grocery store will be Vitamin D fortified too, and again that’s something that’s going to be more common in countries like Canada and the USA where Mother Nature doesn’t play along with providing much in the way of natural sunlight for long stretches of the year.
Vitamin D3 also has its own specific benefits, and if you’re one of the many people who’d prefer to cover as many bases as possible with just one step then taking a Vitamin D complex will provide you with the basic levels of each type of Vitamin D. You should still try to get it from your diet too, but people taking a Vitamin D complex and a Vitamin B complex over winter months is fairly common.
We talked earlier about how Vitamin D2 and bone health are closely connected, so for people with osteoporosis or any similar degenerative bone condition your physician may recommend a much higher intake of Vitamin D2 all year round. Why is Vitamin D important? For some continued bone strength and rigidity is going to be front and center with that.
A prescription medication like Fosamax Plus may be a good fit here too, and one thing that is always true for older people whose bones are more brittle is that you should never stop moving. Even if you can be physically active in a limited capacity for a short time each day, it’s going to be helpful.
Have a love for fishing? Well most fishers have caught more than a few fish in their lifetime, but few people (if any at all) have pulled in a tuna fish from the open ocean. It’s not a recreational fish, and that’s because these fish grow to enormous sizes. The average tackle setup would snap in half long before you ever got one of these sea behemoths anywhere near the surface. The health implications of consuming tuna are one of the best ways to get Vitamin D into your diet.
Another excellent dietary source of Vitamin D2 is mushrooms, and there are some mushrooms with more Vitamin D2 than others. They tend not to be the type you’ll find on a pizza, but many of them are great mixed into salads or as part of a healthy pasta or casserole.
Still wondering why Vitamin D is important? Well we suggest then that you check in with your family doctor on your personal Vitamin D levels and if supplements or diet change is right for you!