Wellness Letter: Your Vitamin D Guide, 101

While Autumn is in full swing and some of us have not relocated to Turks and Caicos, we picked Chinara’s brain for tips on how to get the easy-going feeling that fresh Vitamin D from the summer sun provides.

Pearl Street Caviar: I’ve heard that vitamin D is good vibes from the sun and that it’s also in milk. Are these the same vitamin? What does vitamin D do and why is it important?

Chinara Tate, PhD, RD: More time indoors means less of our primary source of Vitamin D: the sun. Vitamin D deficiency is associated with depression and insufficient Vitamin D is even more likely in the fall and winter months. 

Sounds very important. Is it also in almond milk? Oat milk?

Many varieties of non-dairy milk are fortified with Vitamin D, however, it’s important to check the labels because some contain less than others. There are very few naturally occurring food-based sources of Vitamin D - fatty fish (eg. salmon) and caviar are among these few.

What are some ways to continue vitamin D intake through the Fall?

Spend time outdoors when you can, just 10-15 minutes a few times a week is all it takes for the body to produce ample amounts of Vitamin D.

I know that most vitamins require being accompanied by other foods in order for our bodies to absorb them efficiently (bioavailability!). What can I eat to help me host Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is actually the helper nutrient - in addition to helping ward off the winter blues, Vitamin D helps us absorb calcium more efficiently and works in tandem with it to build stronger bones and help prevent osteoporosis.

Does the winter sun provide Vitamin D? 

Absolutely! Even on cloudy days spending 10-15 minutes outdoors can ramp up Vitamin D production.

Is this tied to body chemistry or my general feeling of accomplishment? 

Both! That feeling of accomplishment can elicit a highly rewarding hit of dopamine that helps motivate you to come back for more and exercise itself precipitates a flood of endorphins, another feel good brain chemical famed for the ‘runner’s high’.

What else can give us that sun-lit feeling?

Great question! Here are a few pointers to help boost your mood and beat back the winter blues: