It’s official, summer is over and fall has begun. As the leaves change color and fall off the trees, the temperatures start shifting. When temperatures drop suddenly, illnesses seem to ramp up. Thus begins the cold and flu season. Why do sicknesses seem to coincide with the fall and winter months?
There is one simple reason for this – in most of the United States except for the very southern parts, the sunlight is only strong enough to make vitamin D on your skin for about 6 months of the year – from around mid-April to mid October. In the far north, this window of time may be even shorter.
This creates a chronic epidemic of low vitamin D issues for the general population, and could be the cause of so many other physical issues. Low vitamin D has been connected to many symptoms and illnesses, including lowered immunity, dental problems, asthma in kids, cognitive issues in older adults, cancer and skeletal issues.
So as fall is beginning, it is very important to keep up your vitamin D levels. You can do this in a couple of different ways.
1. Take a 1-2 week vacation to Florida or some other state where it is warm and sunny and the sun is strong enough to make vitamin D on your skin. Do this sometime during the winter. If you take care to really get some healthy sunlight while you’re out there, you could give yourself a huge boost to get you through the next couple of months.
2. Take vitamin D supplements. Although not as ideal as sunlight on your skin, supplements may be a necessity for those of us who can’t easily travel to warmer climates for vacations. The current guidelines for vitamin D supplements is on the low side. If you are an adult, you should take around 5-6000 IU a day in the wintertime. If there are any doubts, you should get tested for your levels, as some people maintain their vitamin D levels more stably for longer periods of time than others and may not even need to supplement much.
If you are unsure about when exactly the sun is able to make vitamin D on your skin or not, take a look at this US Navy altitude calculator. All you have to do is enter your town info and hit the “compute table” button. If the altitude is below 50 at your current day and time, then you are unable to make vitamin D on your skin via the sun.