With the first official day of winter making its appearance a few days ago, I can now officially declare that winter is upon us in the Northern Hemisphere.
Here in New England however, we’ve been feeling the effects of winter far beyond the last few days. The gray skies, dark nights and low temperatures have been in full swing here since the beginning of November.
A lot of people enjoy winter. It has a lot of things going for it. The holidays and time off is a big plus for many. Snow is even pretty too, when you’re not shoveling it.
While it’s a season to enjoy for the most part, it can be troublesome as well. During the winter months, it’s not uncommon to go days if not weeks without seeing that glorious sun shining.
That can cause some serious issues for many. One major problem that it causes is a lack of Vitamin D. The sun is the main source of Vitamin D for most of us and without it, Vitamin D levels in the body begin to drop.
I began to notice issues with myself during the winter months a few years ago and decided to supplement with Vitamin D after I did some research. I am very particular with all the supplements I take and Vitamin D is no different.
Fortunately, I was lucky early on to find a high quality Vitamin D3 supplement made by a company called Sports Research. This supplement has been pivotal for me in dealing with the lulls of winter.
Why take Vitamin D
Vitamin D is an essential vitamin that our body needs. It is important for overall health and maintaining strong bones. It’s estimated that around 40 % of adults are deficient in Vitamin D although it is much higher for some groups. Evidence suggests that a Vitamin D deficiency is link to several chronic diseases to include cancer and heart disease.
We are able to get Vitamin D from a few different sources, the primary source being the sun. Through exposure to the sun, your skin and body are able to produce Vitamin D.
Aside from the sun, we are able to get Vitamin D from some foods, mostly seafood. The primary food sources for Vitamin D are Cod liver oil, salmon, tuna and sardines.
Aside from the sun and food, we of course are able to get Vitamin D through supplements. This is the way that most people with a Vitamin D deficiency get their vitamin D. I don’t know anybody that’s slugging down can after can of sardines to get their Vitamin D fix.
Even during the summer months, there’s still no guarantee that you aren’t deficient. In our modern world, many of us are locked inside behind computers and don’t get the amount of sunlight adequate to maintain our Vitamin D levels.
After failing to get the right amount of Vitamin D during the summer months, we go into the winter already in a deficit. Then we go through day after day of gray skies and no sunlight. This lowers our Vitamin D levels even more.
Since we can’t get it from the sun and probably don’t want to subsist on fish all winter, the only other option to get our Vitamin D is through supplements.
Why I Started To Take Vitamin D
There’s something called Seasonal Affective Disorder that’s talked about in hushed tones around here during the winter months. It’s basically a form of depression you experience during a specific season. It’s usually experienced during the winter months.
Nobody really wants to admit it but a lot of us experience it. As the winter months go by and you’re stuck inside, it just gets to be a grind. It gets dark early and stays cold day and night.
I do my best go get outside even if it’s for a quick walk, but that can be difficult when the temperature hits zero and stays at zero.
I realized after on particularly long winter a few years ago that I had an issue with seasonal affective disorder. My mood would plummet and winter felt twice as long as it should’ve.
I realized a few months later after I got some sunlight into my system and started feeling good again that I had likely experienced a bout of seasonal affective disorder. I did some research and found that it was closely linked to a lack of sunlight and Vitamin D.
Most of my friends and family also admit to experiencing it. In fact, I know people that have had it so bad they moved to warmer climates to avoid it forever.
When winter arrived the next year I decided that I was going to be prepared. I have taken a multivitamin for years but rarely take a single vitamin in isolation.
After looking at a few brands of Vitamin D, I stumbled upon the Vitamin D3 produced by Sports Research.
Sports Research is a company that has apparently been producing supplements since 1980. I only discovered them a few years ago but I have had nothing but good experiences with the supplements I have purchased from them.
Like all the supplements I recommend, this is garbage free. Specifically it’s free of gluten, dairy, egg, peanut, fish, soy, shellfish, wheat, yeast, fillers, binders, preservatives, artificial ingredients and magnesium stearate.
According to Sports Research, their Vitamin D3 delivers the same active form of Vitamin D produced in the body as a result of direct exposure to sunlight. That sounds like the next best thing after actually being out in the sun to me.
Aside from those of us in winter environments, this is a great option for those who need to limit their exposure to the sun as it delivers the same form of Vitamin D without actually having to go out in the sun.
This is the main area where this vitamin caught my eye and made it stand out for me when I was on my hunt for a Vitamin D supplement.
This vitamin contains coconut oil. I’m personally a huge fan of coconut oil so I will admit that I’m biased when it comes to that. Sports Research explains that they add coconut oil to this vitamin because it’s a fat soluble vitamin and difficult to absorb if it’s not also taken with a fat.
Here’s the ingredients in this vitamin: Vitamin D3 (as cholecalciferol from Lanolin), coconut oil, softgel capsule (kosher gelatin, kosher vegetable glycerin, purified water). Very simple and straight forward natural ingredients. Nothing that you can’t pronounce and nothing artificial.
Serving size, daily value and price
Vitamin D3 is measured in international units or IU for short. You don’t always see vitamins measured this way but IU is basically an internationally recognized form of measurement used by some companies.
The Institute Of Medicine recommends that adults get 600 IU’s of Vitamin D a day. This is where things get a little confusing. I see Vitamin D recommendations all over the board and 600 IU’s seems to be the minimum recommended dose. The best answer I can find is basically that it depends. It depends on the person and the amount of sunlight they are exposed to.
The Sports Research Vitamin D3 that I take is 5000 IU’s (1,250 % DV) however, they do make one that comes in 1,000 IU’s if you think that is too much for you.
My best advice is to speak with your doctor first and strongly consider getting your vitamin D3 levels checked if you are concerned about it. I haven’t had my Vitamin D levels checked but I plan on doing it in the near future just to have a better idea of where I’m at.
I get almost no sun during the winter months and have taken the 5000 IU for the last 2 or 3 winters and haven’t had any issues. Once it warms up and I start to get into the sunlight, I stop taking the Vitamin D3 because I get a lot of sun in the warmer months and no longer need it. It doesn’t take much sunlight to get adequate levels of D3.
All in all I probably take this vitamin for about 4 months total throughout the year so I am not particularly concerned about taking too much. Like anything, you can overdo Vitamin D3. Symptoms of too much Vitamin D3 include nausea, vomiting, constipation and excess calcium levels. Just be smart about it like anything else you take.
As far as the serving size, it is one very tiny softgel per day. The amazing thing is that there is 360 servings in a bottle so this is going to last you a very long time.
The current price is $15.95 on Amazon (as of 04/15/2019 11:50 EST-Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product).
That’s ridiculously cheap for a high quality vitamin like this. Doing the math you end up paying about 4 cents a day per serving. Doesn’t get much cheaper than that friends.
Pros and cons
- Servings per container
- Daily value- 5,000 IU’s may be too much for some however, it is also available in a lesser amount for those that are concerned.
- Coconut oil quality- It does not say that the coconut oil used in the 5,000 IU version is organic and cold-pressed. That would be my preference so I’m a little disappointed with that however, they do make a plant based version that does use it which I am going to consider switching to in the future.
No sun no problem
Overall, I think this Vitamin D3 by Sports Research is a great option for those looking for a supplemental form of Vitamin D. I am not going to say that is the absolute best one available but it is my top choice right now.
I have tried a few other brands over the years but have taken this one the longest. I like the fact that it uses coconut oil while avoiding artificial ingredients and preservatives.
Since I began taking this, I have noticed that the long months of winter do not affect me nearly as much as they did prior to taking it. I have more energy and my mood is pretty similar to how it is the rest of the year when it had formerly been down in the dumps during the winter when I didn’t supplement with Vitamin D.
If you’re looking for a high-quality affordable Vitamin D3, I definitely recommend giving this one a chance.
Do you take Vitamin D? I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences with it below. I would also be very interested to hear the experiences of those that have used it in areas that experience a cold winter like I do.