While there’s a whole lot of vitamin D to go around in the summer, with those bright and cheery rays of sunshine coming down on you at full blast, that’s not exactly the case in the winter (unless you live in a tropical oasis year-round, that is). But does the seasonal weather affect your vitamin levels? The answer is yes—studies have shown a drop in vitamin D during the winter, which contributes to the fact that nearly half of Americans are deficient. So, what’s a health-conscious gal to do during the snowy months?
Since a vitamin D deficiency could result in symptoms ranging from fatigue and weight gain to poor concentration and headaches, it’s important to look to other sources to get your fill—like your diet.
It can be hard to get enough sun to satisfy your vitamin D needs in the winter—especially since you’re always either hygge-ing it up inside or wearing 37 layers of clothing to beat the cold. But, according to OG integrative medicine guru Frank Lipman, MD, a deficiency could result in symptoms ranging from fatigue and weight gain to poor concentration and headaches—so it’s important to look to other sources to get your fill, like your diet.
The New York Times reports that foods and supplements rich in vitamin D include fortified orange juice, yogurt, salmon, breakfast cereal, and dairy milk or plant-based milks. If you don’t feel like you’re getting enough through what you’re consuming, that’s when supplements come into play, and you can chat with your doc to pick out the best option.
And, Carol Haggans, a registered dietitian and spokeswoman for the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements, told the Times that your body can store levels of vitamin D throughout the seasons, so if you’re diligent about your intake, you can retain enough to keep you healthy and happy no matter how many blizzards come your way.