How to Get Enough Vitamin D in the Winter

by Melissa Chichester

During the winter months, most of us tend to spend more time indoors.

This can be a problem because sun exposure is how we receive one of our most essential nutrients: Vitamin D.

Considering everything Vitamin D can do, it is important to make sure we get enough during every stage of life. Vitamin D is involved in:

  • Maintaining a healthy immune system*
  • Bone health support*
  • Calcium absorption* 

These benefits are too important to miss out on. So what can we do? 

>>Shop all Vitamin D supplements

The sun is the best source of Vitamin D. When sunlight hits your skin, it makes Vitamin D with cholesterol in skin cells. 

Between 10-30 minutes of sunlight several times per week is the general recommendation for Vitamin D production. 

With subzero temperatures and a lack of sunlight, this isn’t possible in the winter. 

And according to the United Kingdom National Health Service, you cannot receive Vitamin D by sitting in a sunny window. They state that “your body can’t make vitamin D if you’re sitting indoors by a sunny window because ultraviolet B (UVB) rays (the ones your body needs to make vitamin D) can’t get through the glass.”

>>7 Ways to Get More Vitamin D

Creative ways to get Vitamin D in the winter

So if you can’t get Vitamin D through the window and it’s below zero outside, what is the next step? 

For starters, don’t dismiss enjoying the sun through a window. Even if you aren’t producing Vitamin D, sunlight is beneficial to your mood, well-being, and circadian rhythm. So soak up that sunshine when you can! 

Here are some ways to receive Vitamin D you need in the winter months. 

woman getting vitamin D on the beach in the sun

Plan a vacation 

If it’s possible, plan a vacation to a sunny location where you can safely spend time outdoors. Even a short weekend trip can do wonders for your mood and help your body start producing Vitamin D. Visit a friend in a sunny location or take a trip with friends and family to somewhere you have always wanted to go. 

Use a sun lamp

Light therapy is a common tool used to improve moods in the winter months.

Some sun lamps are actually able to deliver UVB rays the body needs to make Vitamin D.

Consult your doctor to find a sun lamp that supports Vitamin D production and how to use your lamp properly. 

>>Vitamin D Recommendations by Age

Choose Vitamin D-rich foods

It’s not easy to receive enough Vitamin D through foods. However, when you can’t get outdoors, increasing your intake through nutrition can help. 

Foods to eat for Vitamin D include fish and seafood, eggs (including the yolk), and fortified foods. Many juices, breads, and cereals will say “fortified with Vitamin D” on the label.

Mushrooms are the best plant-based source of Vitamin D

Get outside when it’s safe 

Take advantage of the sun when you can, if you are able. Go for a 10-minute walk or enjoy your favorite winter sports. Always make sure that it is safe to do so, avoiding skin exposure when it’s too cold and avoiding icy sidewalks to prevent slipping and falling. You’ll enjoy the fresh air and sunshine – and so will your dog if you have one! 

Take Vitamin D supplements

The Recommended Daily Allowance for Vitamin D is 15-20 mcg/day depending on age according to the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements. 

Supplements are a simple way to receive this recommended amount. However, if you’re concerned about your levels, talk to your doctor. They can order a simple Vitamin D blood test to discover exactly where your levels are. 

Vitamin D supplements come in many varieties for all types of people. Here are some of our top sellers – and what people are saying about them! 

Chewable Vitamin D3 25 mcg (1000 IU)

“Nice small chewables with good flavor and no aftertaste.” – Lydia, Puritan’s Pride Perks Member

Vitamin D3 25 mcg (1000 IU)

“I’ve been taking this for several years now and I’m very pleased with it.” – Diana, Puritan’s Pride Perks Member

Liquid Vitamin D3 5000 IU

“I measure the value of this by results. This is something I won’t go without. Time has shown this to be a must-have. Pack it first when traveling. I recommend this to everyone.” – Tim, Puritan’s Pride Perks Member

Vitamin D3 2000 IU (per serving) Gummies

”I love the flavor of this Vitamin D gummy and it is exactly what I need to supplement my diet.” – Sharlene, Puritan’s Pride Perks Member 

There are many ways to still receive the Vitamin D you need during the winter. All you have to do is make a conscious effort to make sure your lifestyle and diet meet those needs. If you have concerns about Vitamin D deficiency, always discuss it with a healthcare professional.