Take your vitamin D

For the cold and long months when you can’t get enough sun, you’ll need to supplement your body. Norwegians do this with vitamin D pills. You can find them in just about any supermarket (matbutikk) in dissolvable tablet form, or go to a pharmacy (apotek) for the actual pills. As I covered at the start of this book, you may find the Norwegian versions of vitamins usually have fairly low dosages. So you need to purchase the good stuff in your home country or online at iHerb for delivery to Norway.

It’s also easily possible in Norway to get your vitamin D levels checked. This is something I, hailing from sunny California, had never had to do, but apparently, it’s very common in the Nordic countries. I guess for a Scandinavian it’s the same as checking the oil in your car. It’s good to do it at least once a year and top things up when needed.

It should also be noted that Norwegians, in addition to recommending you top up your vitamin D, will also try to get you to take Tran. Basically, it’s fish oil. It’s full of omega-3s and vitamin D as well. If you can manage to drink this concoction, you’re not just surviving Norway, you’re pretty much already a Norwegian!

The Norwegian Sunlight Challenge

Norway’s geographical location, situated in the high latitudes of Northern Europe, means it experiences extreme variations in daylight throughout the year. In the summer, residents enjoy the famous Midnight Sun, with 24-hour daylight in some areas. However, the flip side is the long, dark winters, where the sun barely rises above the horizon in many regions. This limited sunlight can lead to Vitamin D deficiency.

The Importance of Vitamin D

Vitamin D, often referred to as the “sunshine vitamin,” plays a crucial role in various bodily functions. Some of the key reasons why it’s important, especially in Norway, include:

1. Bone Health: Vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption, a critical component for maintaining strong and healthy bones. Inadequate Vitamin D can lead to conditions like osteoporosis.
2. Immune System Support: Vitamin D is known to enhance the immune system’s ability to defend against infections and illnesses, a particularly valuable asset during Norway’s cold and flu seasons.
3. Mood and Mental Health: Sunlight and Vitamin D have been associated with improved mood and overall mental well-being. The lack of sunlight in Norway’s winter can contribute to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
4. Reduced Chronic Diseases: Adequate Vitamin D levels are linked to a reduced risk of chronic conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers.

The Challenges of Vitamin D Deficiency

In a country where sunlight is often scarce, Vitamin D deficiency is a real concern. Some of the potential consequences of a deficiency include:

1. Weak Bones: Insufficient Vitamin D can lead to weakened bones, increasing the risk of fractures and osteoporosis, especially in older adults.
2. Lowered Immunity: A compromised immune system can make individuals more susceptible to infections and illnesses.
3. Mood Disorders: Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a recognized condition in Norway, particularly during the dark winter months.
4. Chronic Disease Risk: Vitamin D deficiency is associated with an increased risk of various chronic diseases, which can impact overall health.

Maintaining Adequate Vitamin D Levels

Fortunately, there are several strategies to ensure you get enough Vitamin D while living in Norway:

1. Sunlight Exposure: When possible, spend time outdoors during daylight hours. Even during the short winter days, some sunlight exposure can be beneficial.
2. Dietary Sources: Include Vitamin D-rich foods in your diet, such as fatty fish (salmon, mackerel), egg yolks, and fortified dairy products.
3. Supplements: Consult a healthcare professional to determine if Vitamin D supplements are necessary, especially during the winter months.
4. Artificial UV Light: Tanning beds that emit UVB radiation can help stimulate Vitamin D production, but they should be used cautiously and with professional guidance.


Vitamin D is a vital nutrient for overall health and well-being, and its importance is heightened for those living in Norway due to the limited sunlight during the long winters. Maintaining adequate Vitamin D levels through a combination of sunlight exposure, a balanced diet, and, if necessary, supplements is crucial to support strong bones, a robust immune system, and a positive outlook, even during Norway’s darkest months. Embracing the “sunshine vitamin” can contribute to a healthier and happier life in the land of the Northern Lights.

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