With winter in Minnesota fast approaching, vitamin D becomes a buzzword among health officials. What does Vitamin D have to do with winter? It is a key factor in producing calcium to strengthen bones, and the chemical process occurs when sunlight hits skin. In MN, low levels of Vitamin D are also linked to depression. Because the sunlight dramatically lessens in the winter, and because we cannot be outside in short sleeves in our winter, vitamin D levels decrease in people in the Northern States as well.
Low vitamin D is also linked to worsened COVID symptoms. In this study of 216 Spanish COVID patients, 82% were found to be vitamin D deficient, but Vitamin D is being explored as an effective treatment option.
Those in the northern hemisphere are encouraged to take vitamin D supplements. According to a 2015 MPR article, the recommended baseline amount is between 20-30 nanograms of Vitamin D per milliliter of blood serum. MPR found that 40% of children were below the 30 mg threshold and teens are much more likely to be deficient in Vitamin D. The recommended amount is 1000 IUs daily for children and 4000 daily IUS (international units) for adults, according to Mayo Clinic. However, Vitamin D can also be found in fish such as salmon, mackerel, and tuna.
While Vitamin D supplements are healthy and helpful for many, those on medication for weight-loss, cholesterol, psoriasis, or heart/blood pressure issues should check with their doctor first, as vitamin D can negatively interact with these medications.
We hope this information can help you care for yourself and stay healthy through the classic MinneSNOWta winter.