The winter season brings a chilly dose of freezing weather, shorter days, and less sunlight.
Sure, the last of that list doesn’t bother redheads too much (we’re not ones for tanning), but we need to think about vitamin D deficiency.
Are gingers at risk of vitamin D deficiency?
Many health benefits have been linked to vitamin D, which is the single biggest benefit of soaking up the sun’s rays. These include helping to prevent autism, autoimmune disease, cancer, and to regulate the immune and the neuromuscular system.
And according to the Institute of Medicine, the only proven health benefit is its contribution to help calcium in its aim to build strong bones. Sounds pretty important, right?
Well, consider this. Thanks to the genius of ginger genetics, redheads are more able to produce sufficient levels of vitamin D with less exposure to sunlight. Which is particularly good news seeing as we’re slightly-sort-of allergic to UV rays. And it’s especially good for those gingers who live in countries further away from the equator, including the UK, Canada, and Russia.
However, this MC1R mutation that gingers have passed from generation to generation developed long before we picked up our habits of staying cooped up indoors all winter, hiding from the cold. In fact, it could be traced back 50,000 years, to Africa and may perhaps explain why there are more redheads found in cooler climates in the northern hemisphere.
Should redheads take vitamin D supplements?
This winter, you may witness the repeated adverts on TV, suggesting to take vitamin D supplements.
But, if you are worried that you have vitamin D deficiency, don’t be too hasty. During winter, redheads are at an advantage to others, as we are already able to produce healthy levels of vitamin D with little sunlight.
If you feel drowsy and lacking in some of the sun’s vitamin D goodness, you can achieve a spurt of the vitamin from consuming a little more milk, salmon, eggs, oranges, mushrooms and tofu.