During Winter Months, Don’t Forget Your Vitamin D

The holidays keep families busy, but that doesn’t mean you should push your health needs—especially when it comes to your skin! We stopped by the Mt. Airy Health & Wellness Pavilion to ask the internal medicine specialists at Carroll Health Group all about the importance of Vitamin D, so you can stay healthy while you’re decking the halls this season.

In the winter months, when daylight is shorter and our skin is more covered to keep us warm, it becomes more important for people of all ages—from children to the elderly—to make sure we are getting enough Vitamin D. Vitamin D is important to the body in lots of ways, including keeping bones and teeth strong. Low levels of Vitamin D have been linked to serious medical conditions including cardiovascular disease, certain cancers and diabetes.

There are two main ways that our bodies obtain Vitamin D: exposure to UVB sunlight and dietary intake—including both food and supplements.

The American Dermatology Association recommends against relying on sunlight alone for Vitamin D intake; however, 5 to 30 minutes of sun exposure during the midday hours of 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., twice a week—without sunscreen—can be helpful to maintaining a healthy Vitamin D level.

During the holiday season, when we spend more time inside—either shopping, celebrating or spending quality time with loved ones—and less time in the sun, it is especially important to maximize the amount of Vitamin D in our daily diets and utilize supplements when necessary. Foods that are high in Vitamin D include eggs, milk and dairy products, and fatty fishes such as salmon and canned tuna.

How much Vitamin D we need daily depends on our age. Most adult women and men need about 400-600 International Units (IU) of Vitamin D each day. Post-menopausal women should increase their daily intake to about 800 IU per day. Most people should not consume more than 2,000 IU of Vitamin D per day, unless a physician prescribes a higher dose to replete a patient’s deficient level. When taking over-the-counter supplements, be sure to read labels carefully. Many calcium supplements and multi-vitamins already contain Vitamin D, so be careful when combining them to not take too much.

It has become common for healthcare providers to order a Vitamin D level screening for patients once a year or once every couple of years. Talk to your physician at Mt. Airy Health & Wellness Pavilion about your Vitamin D level and what combination of daily sunlight exposure, dietary and supplemental intake would be best for you to maintain optimal health this holiday season and beyond.

Ready to prioritize your health this holiday season? Visit mtairyhealth.org today to get started!

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