Vitamin D is important. It is key in physical and emotional health. It is also necessary to help your body absorb calcium. Shorter days can make it difficult to get the proper amount of vitamin D in the winter months.
You get vitamin D from sunlight. Winter months often have cloudy days. Plus, you likely dress in layers and stay inside to avoid the cold. This makes it nearly impossible to get enough vitamin D.
Getting enough vitamin D
The Institute of Medicine recommends those ages 1 to 70 get 600international units (IUs) per day, and adults age 71 and older get 800 IUs per day. Changing what you eat in the winter can significantly boost vitamin D levels. Many foods are a great source of this essential vitamin:
- Fortified dairy milk and plant-based options, such as soy milk
- Fortified orange juice
Note: Some of these sources contain only a small amount of vitamin D. Talk with your doctor if you think you are not getting enough vitamin D daily.
How much is too much?
You should talk with your doctor about all medications and vitamins you take daily. While vitamin D is important, you can get too much. Some signs and symptoms of too much vitamin D include:
- Confusion or irregular heart rhythm
- Kidney damage
Adapting your diet in the winter and throughout the year is essential to staying healthy. Small changes to your routine can significantly impact your overall physical health and wellness. If you feel you may not begetting enough vitamin D, talk with your doctor. You can also add some key sources to your cart during your next grocery trip.
1.Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine (2011). Dietary reference intakes (DRIs): Recommended dietary allowances and adequate intakes, elements. Available online: http://iom.edu/Activities/Nutrition/SummaryDRIs/~/media/Files/Activity%20Files/Nutrition/DRIs/New%20Material/2_%20RDA%20and%20AI%20Values_Vitamin%20and%20Elements.pdf.
2.Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine (2011). Dietary reference intakes (DRIs): Recommended dietary allowances and adequate intakes, vitamins. Available online: http://iom.edu/Activities/Nutrition/SummaryDRIs/~/media/Files/Activity%20Files/Nutrition/DRIs/New%20Material/2_%20RDA%20and%20AI%20Values_Vitamin%20and%20Elements.pdf.
3.Institute of Medicine (2011). Dietary Reference Intakes for Adequacy: Calcium and Vitamin D, pp. 345–402. Washington, DC: National Academies Press. Available online: http://books.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=13050.
4. Food & Nutrition (2014). Vitamin D Food Sources for Winter Months. Available online: https://foodandnutrition.org/blogs/stone-soup/vitamin-d-food-sources-winter-months/
5. WebMD (2014). Vitamin D: How to Get Enough in the Winter. Available online: https://blogs.webmd.com/food-and-nutrition/2014/12/vitamin-d-how-to-get-enough-in-winter.html