The winter months can be a difficult time to get enough vitamin D for those of us who live in the northern latitudes (This also goes for folks who live in warm climates but just don't leave the house often). Some studies have said that 40% of people over 65 living in Florida have insufficient levels of vitamin D. As we age we don't absorb vitamin D as readily as they do when we are young.
Our bodies can't produce enough of this stuff to keep us functioning at peak performance, and we need to be proactive to make sure to compensate for our lack of sunshine by supplementing with a high quality vitamin D supplement. Some foods are fortified with vitamin D, but your body does best with the vitamin D it gets from exposure to sunlight. Here are a few reasons you may need to step up your vitamin D supplementation.
1. Depression/Mood - Studies have found that individuals with a shortage of vitamin D are more prone to sadness and have a difficult time fighting off the blues. vitamin D also has an affect on serotonin levels which has a significant impact on your mood.
2. Muscle fatigue/weakness - Endurance and muscle size can be diminished by low levels of vitamin D. If you're living in a cold climate and trying to get fit indoors in the winter months but progress seems to slow down, you could be suffering from a lack of the vitamin.
3. Bone fractures - Vitamin D is essential to bone growth, without it your bones weaken and you become prone to fractures. Being prone to fractures in areas where snow and ice tend to form on the ground is not a good survival tactic.
4. Pain tolerance - Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to increased chronic pain in some individuals. This could also be tied into the depression/mood aspect of insufficient levels of the vitamin.
5. High blood pressure - Vitamin D helps your body regulate blood pressure, along with maintain cardiovascular health.
Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin, which means if you take too much it can have toxic effects on your body. With that said, always consult your healthcare professional before starting a vitamin D regimen to make sure that it is appropriate for you.