Winter is coming: how you can protect yourself with Vitamin D

Winter is coming: how you can protect yourself with Vitamin D

By Dr. Kawisha Arander    General Practitioner (BMed MD FRACGP MPH DCH)

With shorter days and colder nights, autumn and winter brings with it a range of health challenges. Not only it is harder to keep up with exercise, avoid the seasonal cold and flu and now COVID-19, but low sunlight levels make it more difficult to keep up our Vitamin D.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics recently showed that 1 in 4 Australians are deficient in Vitamin D and this number significantly rises over winter. Along with this, immunity levels drop, energy levels reduce and rates of depression rise. Vitamin D has been proven to help with all these conditions and more. Research has shown that adequate levels of Vitamin D3 keep the immune system strong and reduce the frequency of coughs and colds. Furthermore, it improves cardiovascular health, boosts fertility and has been linked with reduced rates of breast cancer. It also has an important role in hormone balance and promotes mental wellbeing. Longer term, it is an essential component for bone strength and protects against osteoporosis.

With all these benefits it is still easy to miss Vitamin D deficiency as it can be silent. Some symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency include fatigue, poor concentration, joint and muscle pain, hair loss and impaired wound healing.

By improving our Vitamin D levels we put ourselves in the best position to fight off the health challenges moving into winter and there are simple lifestyle changes you can implement:

· Spend time outdoors, 15-20 minutes in the early morning or late afternoon. It is important to balance this with sun safe measures, particularly living Sydney.

· Eat Vitamin D rich foods. Eggs, fish and mushrooms are a great way to start.

· Consume Vitamin D fortified food. In Australia there is mandatory fortification of low-fat spreads and margarine and some voluntary fortification of milk, cheese, and cereals.

· Consider a Vitamin D test, a simple blood test with your GP.

Start protecting yourself this winter by talking to one of our doctors about your Vitamin D and general health.

If you want to see Dr. Kawisha, please call 9000 9955 to make an appointment, or click here to book online.

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