Pacific Northwest

D is for Vitamin D

D is for Vitamin D.

I most definitely suffer from the winter blues. In the Northwest it’s especially hard I think because for the bulk of the year it’s gray and rainy. It starts in about October and the rain sometimes doesn’t stop until July.

I’ve talked about taking antidepressants in the past. I was diagnosed with depression at 14 and was on medication for about 11 years off and on. Mostly on. The crappy thing about it is that I think I was misdiagnosed. I think what I actually suffered from was anxiety. But that’s a whole other topic. When I stopped taking the medications I noticed that I’d suffer from the Winter Blues every year. It would start about December and go until May or so when the spring sun and flowers started to emerge.

A few years ago I saw my doctor and she said that most people in the Northwest were deficient in Vitamin D. She tested me and sure enough. Deficient. During the winter months I take a supplement once a day. I also eat a diet that is pretty high in Vitamin D. The biggest source? Fish! Yay! I eat tons of seafood so that works well for me. I’d much rather get my vitamin D from dinner than a pill.

Vitamin D has many roles in the body–including cell growth, immune function, reduction of inflammation; it promotes calcium absorption in the gut and bone growth. The recommended amount of Vitamin D a day is “200 IU is said to be the daily dosage of vitamin D for adults up to the age of 50.”

How to Get More Vitamin D

1. Salmon: Yet another reason to love salmon! It’s my favorite fish. Salmon has100 IU per ounce of Vitamin D.

2. Shrimp: Shrimp gives you 6 ounces has 64% of your daily needs. Plus shrimp is very low in calories! Extra bonus.

3. Cod: 6 ounces gives you 18% of your daily need.

4. Halibut: 3 ounces has 254% of your daily need of Vitamin D.

5. Eggs: If you eat 1 large egg you get 4% of your daily value, but you have to eat the yolk.

6. Oysters: While oysters are not something I really eat, they are packed with Vitamin D.  1/2 a dozen oysters give you over 60% of your what you need a day!

7. Soy milk: (with added calcium and vitamins A and D) has 297 IU.

The bonus about these foods being high in Vitamin D is that they are also low in calories! Double win!

I would much rather get my Vitamin D from food or sunshine. In fact, one way to battle the winter blues is to escape to some sunshine in the thick of it! This year we left the gray Portland darkness in March for a week in Tucson. It was the perfect reset-button. March is often the worst month in Oregon and having a week in the sunshine helped my brain so much. I came home happier, relaxed and the rain didn’t bother me so much anymore. This might have to become an annual tradition in March…

QUESTION: Are you deficient in Vitamin D? How do you beat the Winter Blues?

A-Abstinence * B-Balance * C-Calories *