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Fatigue, depression... How to fill up on vitamin D in winter?

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Rare as the winter sun rays in our latitudes, vitamin D is nevertheless essential. Synthesised by the skin through exposure to UVB rays, this vitamin is essential for the growth of children, the preservation of bone tissue in adults and the stimulation of the immune system. "It also has a neuroprotective role and is involved in the synthesis of serotonin, the well-being hormone," explains naturopa

"Children are always supplemented but adults are often forgotten. However, repeated deficiencies will encourage colon cancer, osteoporosis and weakened immunity," stresses Faïza Bossy, a general practitioner. "To get the right amount of vitamin D, you would have to live south of Sicily," says naturopath Olivier Panisset. So, what can you do when the South is far too far away?

Exposure to the winter sun

If in autumn, we can take advantage of the stocks of vitamin D built up by exposure to the summer sun, from the beginning of winter, a deficiency may occur. To remedy this, you need to expose your hands, arms and face to the slightest ray of sunlight. If the sun is too scarce, food can help to increase the supply without making up for it entirely. "You shouldn't rely on food to combat a deficiency, but paying attention to what you eat can help," says Olivier Panisset. Vitamin D is found in fatty fish such as salmon, in dairy products, cod liver oil and certain mushrooms such as shiitake.

As for light therapy, although it helps to combat seasonal depression and sleep disorders by exposing the retina to intense light, it does not provide vitamin D.

Food supplements

Vitamin D3, which is synthesised by the skin, can also be taken as a food supplement in the form of ampoules or capsules. People with darker skins will need more supplements. "Their high level of melanin protects them from the sun and makes the synthesis of this vitamin more difficult," explains Olivier Panisset. According to the doctor Faïza Bossy, these people would need twice the amount of vitamin D as that indicated for people with fair complexions.

Vitamin D supplements are sold in pharmacies in the form of ampoules to be taken once every three months, or in the form of capsules to be taken daily and available in organic shops. "I prefer daily doses because the ampoules contain too much vitamin D3 and the body cannot metabolise it all at once," says the naturopath. The effects of a good vitamin D intake will be felt within a few days. "You will see that you are less sick and in a better mood," says Olivier Panisset.

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