With cloudy, winter days, are you getting enough vitamin D?

If you feel like winter gets you down, you’re not alone. Our mood can take a hit when cloudy skies fill our forecast, and not just from the gloomy look.

Sunshine can be a vital ingredient in making sure we get enough vitamin D, also called “the sunshine vitamin”. When the sun is shining, UV-B rays from the sunlight react with cholesterol in our skin to produce vitamin D.

If we’re not replenishing our body’s vitamin D stores on cloudy days, we could feel some of the negatives of the winter perma-cloud including a worsened mood, feeling tired or worn down, lower immunity, and weakened bone health.

We’ve been fortunate to see some sunshine so far this month which has really brightened the mood, but it hasn’t been this sunny for very long.

In January, we were very dark and gloomy with only 1 clear day, 10 partly cloudy days, and 20 cloudy days. February has already brought more sunshine to Michiana in its first week than all of January with 4 clear days, 1 partly cloudy day, and 1 cloudy day.

Foods rich in vitamin D such as fatty fish or dairy products can help you get enough of the sunshine vitamin, even in the winter months. Store bought supplements can also be helpful.

It’s good to get in the habit of supplementing sunshine with other forms of vitamin D intake during the winter, because it can also be helpful in summer.

As we know, sunshine can also be damaging to our skin because of harmful UV rays. Sunscreen, which is very important for the health of your skin, can block out some UV-B rays, protecting your skin, but decreasing vitamin D production.

By diversifying your methods of vitamin D intake, you can still make sure you are getting enough of the sunshine vitamin without experiencing the downsides of that sunshine.

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