You may have heard by now that if you live north of the Mason-Dixon line, your body can’t make enough Vitamin D for nearly 6 months of the year. From approximately November through March, sunlight is insufficient to stimulate the production of Vitamin D in skin. Why should you care?
Because Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to increased risk of asthma, cancer, heart disease, diabetes and seasonal affective disorder, among other conditions. We also need it for healthy bones. And unlike almost any other nutrient, you can’t get enough Vitamin D from food alone no matter how well you eat.
Other Sources of Vitamin D
When you can’t get enough sunlight to make Vitamin D on your own, you have to turn to other sources. Very few foods naturally contain Vitamin D. Fatty or oily fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel provide some, and small amounts of the vitamin are found in beef liver, cheese, and egg yolks. Some dairy products like milk and yogurt and even some juices and cereals are fortified with D.
However, most people have to turn to supplements during the winter months, or during the summer months if you spend most of your time inside. The amount you take will depend on many factors, including where you live, your age, whether you use sunscreen, and the color of your skin. You should always consult with a doctor before taking any vitamin supplement, so you don’t make yourself ill by taking too much or waste your money by taking too little to be helpful.
Vitamin D and Women’s Health
Pregnant women need extra Vitamin D: it supports healthy bone development in the baby, and deficiency is related to preeclampsia for the mother. The average prenatal vitamin doesn’t contain enough Vitamin D, so be sure to ask your OB-GYN if you need additional supplementation.
And if you’re trying to get pregnant and struggling with infertility? Vitamin D deficiency may be playing a role. Be sure to ask your doctor to test your levels if you are having difficulty conceiving.
If you’re looking for an OB/GYN practice that cares about your overall health, call to make an appointment at one of Chouchani, Sayegh and Bagnarello’s three locations. We look forward to meeting you!
Photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net.