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How to harness the sources of vitamin D effectively before winter arrives?

Winter season is typically the one season of the year when you need to be careful about your vitamin D levels. Layers of clothing, wearing heavy sweaters and jackets, and remaining indoors to avoid the chilly wind make us less exposed to the sun during the winter season, and hence the chances of vitamin D deficiency increase.

Getting enough vitamin D before winter arrives is important because during the colder months, many people may not get sufficient sunlight exposure, which is a primary source of vitamin D. Hence you have to go beyond sunlight to maintain the vitamin D levels in your body. Here are some effective ways to increase your vitamin D levels before winter:

Check your vitamin D level
Consider getting a blood test to check your vitamin D level. This can help determine if you need to increase your intake or sun exposure. Vitamin D of at least 30 ng/mL is considered to be good for health.

Sunlight exposure
The most natural way to obtain vitamin D is through sunlight. Spend time outdoors in the sun during the summer and early fall months when the sun is stronger. Expose your skin (arms, legs, face) to direct sunlight for about 10-30 minutes a few times a week. The amount of time needed varies depending on factors like skin tone, geographical location, and the time of day.

Consume vitamin D-rich foods
Include foods high in vitamin D in your diet. Some good dietary sources of vitamin D include fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, trout), cod liver oil, egg yolks, and fortified foods (such as fortified milk, orange juice, and cereals).

Don’t forget supplements
If you have difficulty getting enough vitamin D from sunlight and diet, consider taking vitamin D supplements. Consult your healthcare provider to determine the right dosage for your specific needs, as individual requirements can vary.

Morning walks can be helpful
Regular physical activity can help improve your overall health and may contribute to vitamin D synthesis. Exercise outdoors when possible. Go for morning walks and soak in the morning sun. If this is not possible, then sit under the sun for a few minutes every day.

Limit sunscreen use
While sunscreen is essential for protecting your skin from harmful UV radiation, it can also block the production of vitamin D. When you're trying to get vitamin D from sunlight, consider spending some time in the sun without sunscreen. However, be cautious not to overexpose yourself and risk sunburn.

UV lamps
Some people use UV lamps or light therapy boxes specifically designed to produce UVB radiation, which can stimulate the production of vitamin D in the skin. However, it's essential to use these devices under the guidance of a healthcare professional to avoid potential side effects.

Take expert opinion
If you have specific health conditions or concerns about your vitamin D levels, consult a healthcare provider for personalized advice and recommendations. Do not self-medicate yourself. A doctor will help you with the right dose of vitamin D.