How using vitamin D supplements boosts your winter health

On I-95 at mile marker 174 in the County of Fairfax, motorists can expect potential delays due to a disabled vehicle. The north right shoulder is closed.

Now that we’re at the midway point for winter, it’s time to look at how you can make it to the end. Most people come out of the colder months unscathed. But, there’s no denying that your health might not feel as good as it does during the summer. Although there are lots of therapies available, there are a few reasons to prioritize vitamin D supplements.

Vitamin D supplements may reduce your risk of flu

The best way to protect yourself against the flu is to get an annual vaccination. But that doesn’t mean you can’t add other weapons to your arsenal.

After reviewing a handful of studies, Swedish researchers found that vitamin D supplements reduce the risk of flu. However, as public health experts have stated, using these supplements alone isn’t helpful.

It’s usually the case that vitamin D supplementation will reduce your risk of flu if your levels are low already. This usually applies to those who don’t get enough sunshine, which is the most reliable method of vitamin D synthesis.

You might keep depression at bay

As one of the trickiest conditions to tackle, depression can become more pronounced during the winter period. Alongside seeking advice from your doctor regarding medication and therapy, you may want to try vitamin D supplementation.

The evidence for doing this stems from a revealing review of multiple studies. This review highlighted how vitamin D levels are often 14% lower in those with certain depressive disorders. It also found that around 58% of people who are depressed don’t get enough vitamin D.

To date, the reasons for vitamin D supplements proving useful are unclear. Some researchers believe that the vitamin D receptors in the hypothalamus can disturb the neuroendocrine system. As a result, symptoms of depression become more common.

Weight loss could become a little easier

Winter comes with its own hazards in terms of weight gain. When getting outside into the sunshine becomes more difficult, so does exercising. All those extra hours you spend on the couch could see you pile on some pounds.

Eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly are still the gold standard treatments for losing weight. At the same time, you might find that vitamin D supplements make the process simpler.

According to one study, those with more belly fat and high BMI are more likely to experience a vitamin D deficiency. However, as this study is observational it isn’t clear which condition is the causative one. It could be that low vitamin D levels result in obesity. Or, it could be that obesity causes deficiency.

In either case, it may be worth trying a vitamin D supplement to promote weight loss. But, only do this if you know you’re deficient and do address other causes for your weight gain at the same time.

Vitamin D supplements boost energy levels

One more conclusive piece of research from Newcastle University found that vitamin D supplements can boost energy levels. Using scans that looked at the cells’ mitochondria, the research team found they were working harder when vitamin D supplements were used.

As muscle fatigue is a common symptom when your levels are low, this isn’t too surprising. It could also be the case that those who have low vitamin D are also feeling depressed, which also results in poor energy.

Before you use vitamin D supplements, visit your doctor for a levels test. From there, they can help you determine how much you need to take to see the benefits.

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About the Author

Laura McKeever
Laura has been a freelance medical writer for eight years. With a BSc in Medical Sciences and an MSc in Physician Assistant Studies, she complements her passion for medical news with real-life experiences. Laura’s most significant experience included writing for international pharmaceutical brands, including GSK.