During the summer months, days are longer and temperatures are higher, encouraging people to do more activities outdoors and as a result of this the immune system is strongest in the summer. In all aspects, the opposite can be said regarding the winter months.
During the winter, due to lower temperatures and less light exposure, woman are more prone to weight gain, increased PMT symptoms, fatigue, colds/flu and seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
SAD is sometimes known as "winter depression" and symptoms often begin in the autumn as the days start getting shorter. They're typically most severe during December, January and February.
After age 13 reports show that girls suffer from more SAD symptoms than boys the same age and teen girls past puberty are more than twice as likely to be diagnosed with SAD as girls who have not passed this maturational milestone.
Studies show that by adulthood, women are about four times more likely to suffer from SAD symptoms than men. Interestingly, the difference in SAD between women and men is strongest during the reproductive years.
How does this affect the female hormones?
Because of the rise in hours we spend in darkness and we continue to live as we do all year round, there is a chronic rise in hormones like melatonin and adrenaline, creating more stress in the body. These hormones suppress our metabolism, lower immunity, decrease blood flow to the intestines, and contribute to storage of belly and back fat, this is because the reduction in light can trigger a progesterone deficiency causing an imbalance in the hormones.
Increase Vitamin D during the winter months?
Vitamin D, which is obtained mainly from exposure to sunlight, which has a lower production rate during the winter and this increases our susceptibility to infection and can increases stress in the body. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium. Vitamin D, in tandem with calcium, helps build bones and keep bones strong and healthy. It also plays a role in muscle function and the immune system.
Research is showing that we use between 3000 and 4000 IU of vitamin D3 daily — much more than previously expected, and studies show that our exposure during summer can result in skin production of 10,000–50,000 IU a day, whereas winter it is for most people below what the body requires.
So firstly aim to get 15-30 mins of sun exposure daily and supplement with 5000 IU+ of vitamin D3 a day to ensure your vitamin D level are sufficient.
Secondly listen to my podcast series on the female hormones, where I will share with you my 3 top causes for hormonal imbalances and my 5 top solutions to keeping the hormones balanced along with the vitamin D.