Decreased Daylight Leads to Vitamin D Deficiency. Here’s What You Can Do.
As the colorful Autumn leaves fade to brown and cling to tree branches for dear life, soon, more will be on the ground than in the trees. The falling leaves serve as dry, fluttering precursors of what’s to come: cold temperatures, snow, and shorter amounts of daylight.
For many of us, this means we’ll spend more time inside than out, getting less sun exposure and the Vitamin D synthesis it promotes within our bodies. Why does it matter? Because Vitamin D is critical for good health. It helps us absorb calcium and phosphate (critical for healthy bones), boost our immune systems, and fend off depression. On the flip side, signs of a Vitamin D deficiency include achey bones, head sweating, and gastrointestinal issues. No fun.
Recommended Daily Amounts
The amount of Vitamin D we need each day depends on our age. The Food and Nutrition Board recommends the following daily amounts:
- Birth to 12 months: 400 IU
- Children, 1–13 years: 600 IU
- Teens, 14–18 years: 600 IU
- Adults, 19–70 years: 600 IU
- Adults, 71 years and older: 800 IU
- Pregnant & breastfeeding women: 600 IU
Ways to Boost Your Vitamin D
It’s nearly impossible to get the required amount of Vitamin D through food alone, but there are things you can—and should—do (especially as winter approaches and our amount of daylight get shorter here in Maine). Now is a good time to start giving diligent consideration to your Vitamin D consumption. Try these things:
Eat foods enriched with Vitamin D, such as milk, yogurt, and orange juice.
Consume fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel (no more than once/week).
Spend as much time as you can outside.
Take a daily Vitamin D supplement (best absorbed if taken with a small amount of fat, such fish oil, avocado, butter, nut butter, coconut oil, etc.)
Learn More About Vitamin D
Looking for more information? Find more in-depth data and recommendations in these resources: