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CentraCare Health – Monticello

  • Ask the Provider - January 2018

Ask the Provider

Danielle Cohen, APRN, CNP, DNP 
CentraCare Clinic - Becker

Finding Vitamin D During the Gray Winter Months

Question: During these cloudy winter months, what is a good way to get vitamin D?

Answer: As many of us are aware, sunshine can provide us with vitamin D. However, how do we find this important vitamin during the dreary winter months?

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin. It has been recognized as essential to skeletal health by assisting with calcium absorption, making it a crucial element in bone growth. In addition, vitamin D also plays a large role in our body's cardiovascular health, immune functions, reduction of skin issues such as eczema, and supports cancer prevention.

Very few foods naturally contain vitamin D, therefore the sun is an important natural source for this vitamin. However, we are also aware of the health risks associated with sun exposure and need to consider alternatives for our vitamin D sources.

Because vitamin D is not easily found in food, many people wonder if they should be taking a dietary supplement. With approximately 50 percent of our vitamin D coming from the exposure of our skin to ultraviolet light, and the known health risks associated with sun exposure, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends that most of our vitamin D should come from a combination of foods that are known to contain higher levels of vitamin D and supplements. For adults, who do not have regular, effective sun exposure year-round, such as here in Minnesota, it is recommended that 600 to 800 IUs (International Units) of vitamin D3 should be taken daily. Food such as salmon, tuna, eggs, cow's milk and mushrooms are good natural sources of vitamin D.

For most healthy adults, taking an over the counter vitamin D supplement daily is safe. However, I always recommend talking to your health care provider prior to starting any new supplement plan to ensure the healthiest outcome for each individual.

CentraCare Health - Monticello

1013 Hart Boulevard, Suite 1
Monticello, MN 55362
Phone: 763-295-2945
Business Office: 800-835-6618
Monticello Medical Group: 763-271-2200
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