The Sunshine Vitamin: How to Get Your Vitamin D in the Winter

Vitamin D is one of the most vital vitamins for our health. From building bones, to keeping your immune system in check, to fighting depression, the sunshine vitamin, as it’s known, is best absorbed through the sun. But what happens for those who live in northern climates, especially during the winter months? With some supplementation and a lot of smarts, it’s possible to maintain optimal levels of vitamin D. Here’s how:

1. Get Tested

The best way to ensure you know how much vitamin D you personally need to take?  Consult with a nutritionist and get a blood test. The average person requires 4,000-10,000 IUs daily, which is a very large range.

2. Supplement

You can pick up Vitamin D in tablet form at the drugstore, but your best bet for health (and wealth) is to find a high-quality supplement in capsule or liquid form–a more digestible, and thus more usable, form. Dosages range from anywhere from 500 to 2,000 IUs, so ensure you’re supplementing with the correct amount for your body.

3. Add (To Your Diet)

Vitamin D deficiency is common, in part because foods rich in Vitamin D are hard to come by. That said, they’re not impossible to find! Try fatty fish like wild-caught salmon, sardines, mackerel and tuna. Raw milk and pastured eggs are also great sources. Mushrooms are another great, vegan/vegetarian way to get some more Vitamin D.

4. Be Free

While most people know to wear sunscreen to avoid the carcinogenic reddening of burnt skin, allowing yourself 15-20 minutes of exposed sunlight is the best way to stimulate Vitamin D production. Be sensible, but also remember that sunlight is to be enjoyed–mentally and physically.