Help kick the winter blues with vitamin D

Help kick the winter blues with vitamin D

by: Betsy Ramirez, MEd, RDN | .
Stripes Europe | .
published: February 05, 2017

What is vitamin D? 

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning it is absorbed and stored through fats in your body. You need vitamin D to absorb calcium and phosphorus, which promote bone growth and healthy teeth. Vitamin D is also shown to support the immune system and help protect against diseases. 

Where do we get vitamin D? 

Our bodies can make vitamin D as a result of exposure to sunlight. We can also get vitamin D from what we eat and drink. 

Why do we need it? 

Europe’s lack of sun in the winter makes vitamin D deficiency very common. Researchers have found that there is a possible link between low vitamin D levels and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), depression and other chronic illnesses. Check with your doctor about getting a simple test to check vitamin D levels in your blood. 

What foods contain vitamin D? 

  • Cod liver oil 
  • Fatty fish: swordfish, salmon, tuna 
  • Egg yolks 
  • Mushrooms 
  • Fortified milks* 
  • Fortified yogurts* 
  • Fortified orange juices* 
  • Fortified cereals* 

*If you buy on the economy, many types of milk, yogurt and orange juices are not fortified with vitamin D, like in the States. You can buy fortified products at installation commissaries. 

Will I still need a supplement? 

Always check with your doctor before starting a supplement. The following people may be at a higher risk for vitamin D deficiency: 

  • People with fat malabsorption issues, like IBS 
  • People who have decreased exposure to the sun 
  • Breastfeeding infants 
  • Older adults 
  • People with dark skin 
  • Obese people 
  • People who have undergone gastric bypass surgery

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources: 

Tags: Vitamin D deficiency, SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder, depression, chronic illness, Germany, Europe, expat, military family
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