Vitamin D, also known as the “sunshine vitamin”, is the nutrient you’re most likely to be deficient in during the winter months. “Vitamin” means vital for health and vitamin D is unique because our food is not the main source. In winter the sun is so much further away from us that it’s pretty much impossible to get optimal levels.
Vitamin D enhances our immune system, supports healthy gut function (helps leaky gut and autoimmune diseases), helps depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), and plays a preventative role in cancer and diabetes, just to name a few of its important functions. Most importantly, vitamin D works in conjunction with calcium and vitamin K to build strong bones and teeth, reducing osteoporosis and preventing rickets.
Our primary source of vitamin D is the sun. Foods only contribute to a small percentage of our total intake, but dietary intake still adds up. Small amounts are found in foods like cod liver oil, oily fish (e.g. salmon, mackerel, sardines and anchovies), liver, eggs, full fat dairy products and animal fat. All year round I take cod liver oil with added vitamin D, this also gives me omega 3 and vitamin A. Our body stores vitamin D in our liver but its still an extremely common deficiency. I highly recommend supplementing in vitamin D throughout winter to keep healthy all year around.