We're already halfway through February, but we're far from halfway through winter in the Northern Rockies. Which brings up the important topic of Vitamin D levels!
Vitamin D is sometimes called the 'sunshine vitamin' because it's produced in our body from cholesterol when our skin is exposed to the sun. Vitamin D is critical to maintaining bone and muscle health and also plays a role in our mental well being.
It's estimated that more than 40% of American adults are Vitamin D deficient. Living in a colder, northern climate may increase the likelihood of deficiency for several reasons. We typically have little skin exposed to the sun most of the winter and there is a decreased intensity of the sun's rays at northern latitudes.
Before you just start taking vitamin supplements all willy-nilly, get your levels evaluated through a blood test with your primary care physician. That way they can guide you through appropriate supplement dosages and then retest a few months later to assess progress. Check out this comprehensive article here for more information.
A personal anecdote here - over the past several years I only took Vitamin D supplements during the winter months and not during the spring or summer. My levels stayed within the normal range with this program. However, I had the level checked this summer and it was in the low range. Thus, for the time being, I'm now taking a supplement year round.
The moral of the story - go visit your primary care physician and get your Vitamin D levels assessed. Your body will thank you!
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