Are you getting enough vitamin D? Here’s how to tell
It’s official, we’re in winter. The clocks have gone back and it feels like your chances of getting a little bit of natural sunlight are gone in a flash when you glance out of the window and it’s dark already.
We know winter has its benefits, like the reintroduction of hearty comfort foods and winter vegetables, and of course the chance to wear your cosiest loungewear around the clock, no matter what anyone tells you.
But the one thing our bodies miss the most during winter is the energy we receive from the sun’s UV light which creates vitamin D. The longer winter goes on, you may find your body giving you signs that you might need to get a bit more vitamin D into your system.
So how does vitamin D help our bodies?
Vitamin D increases the amount of calcium we can absorb from our food. This helps to keep our bones, teeth and muscles strong and healthy heading into the colder, darker months. Due to the shorter days in winter and the resulting reduced exposure to sunlight, it can be very easy to become deficient in vitamin D. If you feel any of the symptoms in our list, you might not be getting enough vitamin D so read on for tips on how to keep your body topped up this winter.
Signs you might be a little low on vitamin D
In winter, we naturally spend more time indoors, limiting our exposure to natural sunlight. If your lifestyle keeps you away from sunlight, your body may start to show the following signs that you’re not getting enough vitamin D.
Lower mood than usual
Your happiness can take a dip when you don’t get enough sunlight. Without it, the levels of serotonin, a hormone that contributes to our happiness, decreases. Some studies have shown that vitamin D may play a part in regulating the feel-good serotonin levels in the brain.
Weakness in your muscles
Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium, so without it, your muscles can become weaker. If you feel like your legs are feeling heavier than usual, you may need to increase your intake of vitamin D.
Just like the effect it has on your muscles, not getting the right amount of vitamin D can affect the strength of your bones: you may start to feel aches and pains in your knees and other joints.
Catching colds more often
Vitamin D is an all-round hero for our bodies, not only does it keep our bones strong, it also keeps our immune system robust during the season of cold and flu. If you are starting to notice that you are catching more colds than usual, those sniffles might be down to a lack of vitamin D.
Winter (and just 2020 itself) is pretty tiring in general, but when we don't get the right amount of vitamin D our energy level can take the hit.
Here’s the good news
Even when the sun seems to go in the blink of an eye, there are other ways for you to get the recommended amount of vitamin D.
Start with looking at what you eat, try adding more vitamin D rich food to your diet such as oily fish (salmon, sardines) and eggs.
Another route to vitamin D is to take a daily supplement, you can check out our range of vitamin supplements in our online pharmacy.
Braving the cold and getting outside when the sun is visible is by far the best way to get vitamin D. Even a brisk walk will give your body a vitamin D boost, so be good yourself and soak up some of that winter sunshine!