Portland’s winter months are fast approaching. With the winter season comes shorter daylight hours and overcast skies that offer minimal sunshine. Decreased sunlight can have a larger ripple effect on us than we realize. Darker days may affect our mood (Seasonal Affective Disorder, anyone?), and it could also affect our body’s ability to produce Vitamin D, an essential nutrient.  Vitamin D production is contingent on sun exposure, and for many people it takes a plunge during the darker winter months. Why should we be concerned with this?

Vitamin D: The Multi-Tasker

Research has shown that healthy Vitamin D levels positively influence several biological processes in the body. Low Vitamin D levels, on the other hand, negatively influence our body’s ability to function optimally.  If low Vitamin D levels are not corrected then they can start to impact our day-to-day life. Many people are not aware of how many roles Vitamin D plays in the human body. The table below compares how an adequate and inadequate level of Vitamin D can play a pivotal role in our health and wellness:

Increasing Your Vitamin D

If we cannot get enough sun exposure during the winter to maintain adequate Vitamin D production, what are we to do instead? There are multiple ways to address Vitamin D deficiency. First, we should increase our consumption of Vitamin D-rich foods. Great dietary sources of Vitamin D include: salmon, tuna, cod liver oil, oysters, cheese, egg yolks, mushrooms.  You can view additional food sources at the National Institute of Health’s Vitamin D info page: https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/appendix-12/.

However, it is often not enough to supplement Vitamin D by dietary means alone. We should also consider using Vitamin D supplements to ensure we are maintaining proficient levels of this essential vitamin. Backs on Burnside has Vitamin D supplements available for purchase. If you are interested in discussing your vitamin D needs, or if you have general questions about the supplement, please feel free to discuss it at your next appointment with your chiropractor.