In addition to thyroid hormones, vitamin D is one of the only two nutrients every cell needs to thrive. As a key pathway regulator in our bodies, vitamin D acts as an antidepressant, sleep improver, autoimmune balancer, bone strengthener, brain and fertility booster, and more. Of course, we get most of our vitamin D from the sun, which can sometimes leave us with a deficiency in the wintertime.
"One of the reasons for the 'winter blues' is decreasing amounts of sunshine during the colder months," writes functional medicine doctor and nutritionist William Cole, DC, for Mindbodygreen. "Low levels of vitamin D are linked to a 14 percent increase in depression and a 50 percent increase in suicide rates!" So how can we get an adequate amount of vitamin D when sunlight is in short supply? Cole recommends filling up on the following vitamin D–rich foods in the wintertime:
- Cod-liver oil
- Raw grass-fed milk
- Organic eggs
Since we can't get vitamin D exclusively through food and we don't typically spend time outside during the winter, Cole also recommends a vitamin D supplement. "Based on where your starting level is I typically suggest supplementing with anywhere between 2,000 and 6,000 IU each day of vitamin D," he explains. "Because vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, I prefer the drops and capsules that include MCT or coconut oil. And always make sure there are no added fillers or colors." Of course, check with your doctor to see if a supplement is the right choice for you.
Have you used a vitamin D supplement before? Share your experience with us below!