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Academy at Rensselaer Education Ctr: Delayed 2 HrsAcademy of the Holy Names: Delayed 2 HrsAchievements & Kids Express Mplwood: Delayed 2 Hrs, no before careAchievements St Kateri Tekakwitha: Delayed 2 HrsAchievements and Kids Express TBGC: Delayed 2 HrsAdirondack Enrichment: Delayed Until 12:30pAesthetic Science Institute: Delayed 2 Hrs, Classes begin at 11 amAlbany Leadership Charter High: Delayed 2 HrsAmbleside School: ClosedAmsterdam City SD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCES, No BreakfastAmsterdam Head Start: Delayed 2 Hrs, Staff ReportAn Nur Islamic School: Delayed 2 HrsAndes CSD: Delayed 2 HrsArgyle CSD: Delayed 2 HrsArkville Head Start: ClosedAugustine Classical Academy: ClosedAustin's School of Spa Technology: Delayed 2 Hrs, Staff ReportAverill Park CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCESAverill Park Pre School: Delayed 3 Hrs, No AM Pre-School, No AM PgmBallston Spa CSD: Delayed 2 HrsBattenkill Community Services: Closed, Hockey game still on, will call with timesBennington County Meals: Open, Home delivery delayed Cafe openBerkshire Country Day School: Delayed 2 HrsBerlin CSD: Delayed 2 HrsBerne-Knox-Westerlo CSD: Closed, Offices are closed.Best Fitness (Schenectady): Delayed, No Morning Classes, Club Open No morning classes classes resume 430pBethlehem CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCESBethlehem Children's School: Delayed 2 HrsBishop Maginn HS: Delayed 2 HrsBluebirds' Nest Preschool: ClosedBroadalbin-Perth CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCES, No Breakfast, No PTECH, AgTECH, TEC-SMARTBrown School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No Morning PLUS ProgramBrunswick (Brittonkill) CSD: Delayed 2 HrsBrunswick Children's Academy: Delayed 2 HrsBurnt Hills-Ballston Lake CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCES, 2-hour delay (final)Butterfly Dreams Daycare: Delayed 2 Hrs, Opening at 9:30 amCOARC Adult Transportation: Delayed 2 HrsCairo-Durham CSD: ClosedCalvary Preschool: ClosedCanajoharie CSD: Closed, No PM ActivitiesCapital Reg Career & Tech (Albany): Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCESCatholic Central HS: Delayed 2 HrsCatholic Schools Office: Delayed 2 Hrs, Principals Meeting at 10:30Catskill CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-KCatskill Mt. Christian Academy: ClosedCenter For Early Learning: ClosedChatham CSD: Delayed 2 HrsChatham Kids Club: Delayed 2 Hrs, Open at 8:30Childhood Friends Inc.: Delayed, We will open at 9:00am for All children today!Christ Our Light Catholic Church: Delayed 2 Hrs, Office opening & Adoration delayed 2 hrs. Morning services cancelledChrist the King Early Childhood Ctr: Delayed 2 Hrs, All programs open @ 9:30 AMChristian Brothers Academy: ClosedCircle Of Friends (Delmar): Delayed 2 Hrs, Wrap around delayed 2 hoursCircle of Friends (Ravena): Delayed 2 Hrs, 2.5 hour class is closed 5 hour classes delayedClifton Park Nursery School: Delayed 1 HrCobleskill Campus Child Care Center: Delayed 2 Hrs, Open at 9AMCobleskill-Richmondville CSD: Closed, Offices Open at 9 a.m.Cohoes City SD: Delayed 2 HrsColonie Youth Centers: Open, No BSPColumbia Christian Academy: Delayed 2 HrsCommunity Library Cobleskill, NY: ClosedCooperstown CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCESCorinth CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No BreakfastCoxsackie-Athens CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCES, No BreakfastCrossFit Schenectady: Delayed, No Morning ClassesCrossroads Center for Children: Delayed 2 Hrs, Day Care open @ 9:00Crown Point CSD: Delayed 2 HrsDay Nursery (S Glens Falls): Delayed Until 12:35pDelaware Academy CSD at Delhi: Delayed 2 HrsDoane Stuart School: Delayed 2 HrsDolgeville CSD: Closed, No AM BOCES, No BreakfastDoors of Hope: Delayed 1 HrDuanesburg CSD: ClosedEarly Childhood Learning Ctr: Delayed 2 HrsEarly Childhood Education Center: Delayed 2 HrsEarly Childhood Education Ctr-Troy: Delayed 2 HrsEast Greenbush CSD: Delayed 2 HrsEco Baby Daycare & Preschool: Delayed 2 HrsEdinburg Common SD: Delayed 2 HrsExecutive Woods Childcare: Delayed 2 HrsFaith Bible Academy: Delayed 2 HrsFirst Friends Nursery School: Delayed, No AM Program, Enrichment program begins at 1130amFonda-Fultonville CSD: ClosedFort Plain CSD: Closed, Elem recognition breakfast moved to ThursdayFranklin County Technical SD: Delayed 2 HrsFulmont St Johnsville Head Start: Delayed 2 Hrs, Staff ReportFulton County Office for Aging: Open, No Transportation, No Social Adult Day Care No Home Delivered Meals Meal Sites ClosedFulton-Montgomery CC: Delayed 2 Hrs, Campus will open at 10 am.Gabriel Abbott Memorial School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No morning daycareGalway CSD: Delayed 2 HrsGeorge Washington School: Delayed 2 HrsGermantown CSD: Delayed 2 HrsGilboa-Conesville CSD: ClosedGlens Falls City SD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCESGlens Falls Common SD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No BreakfastGlens Falls Head Start Center: Delayed 2 HrsGloversville City SD: Delayed 2 HrsGood Ground Christian School: Delayed, No AM Pre-K, Afterschool program onlyGrapeville Christian School: ClosedGreen Island UFSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No BreakfastGreen Tech High Charter School: Delayed 2 HrsGreenberg Child Care Center: Delayed Until 9:30aGreenbush Child Caring: Open, No AM ProgramGreene County YMCA: Open, No Morning ClassesGreenfield Public Schools: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-KGreenville CSD: ClosedGreenwich CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCESGuilderland CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCESHFM BOCES Adult Literacy: Delayed, ALZ opens @ 10am GLZ opens @ 10amHFM Career & Tech Center: Delayed 2 HrsHadley-Luzerne CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCES, No BreakfastHansel & Gretel Nursery School: ClosedHappy Kids Day Care Center: Delayed 2 HrsHawthorne Valley School: Delayed 2 HrsHebrew Academy - Capital District: Delayed 2 HrsHelderberg Christian School: ClosedHelping Hands Pre-School: Delayed, No Morning ClassesHoly Spirit School (East G'Bush): Delayed 2 HrsHometown Health Center: Delayed 2 HrsHoosick Falls CSD: Delayed 2 HrsHope 7 Community Center: Open, 9am-6pm, Reg. After School Food Pantry Open9:30a-11:45Hudson City SD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCES, No Breakfast, No tutoring centerHunter-Tannersville CSD: ClosedIchabod Crane (Kinderhook) CSD: Delayed 2 HrsImmaculate Conception (Glenville): Open, 9:00 am mass cancelledIndian Lake CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No BreakfastInlet Common SD: Delayed 2 HrsJefferson CSD: ClosedJohnstown City SD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCESJubilee Child Day Care Center: Delayed 2 HrsKid Kampus: Delayed 2 Hrs, Opening at 8:30AMKidsFirst Childcare Center: Delayed 2 HrsKim's Kids Daycare: Delayed 2 Hrs, No BreakfastKingsbury Seventh-day Adventist Sch: Delayed 2 HrsKingston City SD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCES, Kingston SD is on a 2 hr delay no AM BOCESLa Salle Institute (Troy): Delayed 2 HrsLakeside Nursery School: Delayed, No AM Pre-SchoolLansingburgh CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No Breakfast, Lansingburgh CSD is operating on a 2 hour delayLatham Christian Academy: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM KLearning To Know Educational Center: Delayed 1-1/2 HrsLexington Center Fulton Co ARC: Open, No TransportationLiberty Ent/ Montgomery Co. ARC: Delayed 2 HrsLife Kids Before/ After School: Open, No AM ProgramLifeSong Inc (Saratoga): Delayed 1 HrLifeSong Inc (Schenectady): Delayed 1 HrLifeSong Inc. (Albany): Delayed 1 HrLifeSong Inc. (Rensselaer): Delayed 1 HrLil' Lambs Christian Daycare Inc.: Delayed 2 HrsLit'l Steps Pre-School: Closed, No AM Pre-KLittle Feet Daycare Center: Delayed 2 HrsLittle Tot Nursery School: Closed, No AM Pre-KLiving Res DCOP (Albany): Delayed 1 HrLiving Res DCOP (Rensselaer): Delayed 1 HrLiving Res DCOP (Saratoga): Delayed 1 HrLiving Res DCOP (Schenectady): Delayed 1 HrLong Lake CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCES, No BreakfastLoudonville Christian School: Delayed 2 HrsMalta Montessori School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No Toddler Class, No Toddler ClassMargaretville CSD: ClosedMayfield CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCES, No BreakfastMechanicville City SD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No BreakfastMekeel Christian Academy: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-SchoolMenands UFSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No BreakfastMiddleburgh CSD: ClosedMillbrook CSD: Delayed 2 HrsMohawk Trail Regional SD: Delayed 2 HrsMohonasen CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCESMontessori School (Schenectady): Delayed, No AM Program, opens at noon, School will open at noon for PM programming.Montgomery County Office for Aging: Delayed 2 Hrs, Advisory Council cancelledMorning Star Learning Center: Delayed 2 Hrs, stay tuned, be safeMother Teresa Academy: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pgm, No am nursery program, School opens at 9:45amMountain Road School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No Before School Care.Mt Moriah Academy: Delayed 2 HrsMyers Education Center: Delayed 2 Hrs, 12 month offices 2 hour delayN. Greenbush Little Red School: Delayed 2 HrsNew Lebanon CSD: Delayed 2 HrsNew Paltz CSD: Delayed 2 HrsNewmeadow at Malta: Delayed 2 HrsNewmeadow at Queensbury: Delayed 2 HrsNiskayuna CSD: Delayed 2 HrsNorth Colonie CSD: Delayed 2 HrsNorthville CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCES, No BreakfastNotre Dame-Bishop Gibbons: Delayed 2 HrsO.K. Kids, Inc.: Delayed 2 HrsOak Hill School: Delayed 2 HrsOhav Shalom Nursery School: Delayed, No AM Program, No am care for Ohav Shalom school starts at 930 staff report 900 amOnteora CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCESOppenheim-Ephratah-St Johnsville SD: ClosedOur Lady Queen of Peace (Rotterdam): Open, Faith Formation classes cancelled dut to closing of Schalmont SchoolsOur Lady of Victory Early Childhood: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-KOur Savior's Lutheran School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM K, No AM Pre-SchoolOur World Montessori: Delayed 2 Hrs, Open at 10:45 a.m.Owen D. Young CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCESPark Avenue Nursery School: ClosedParsons Early Head Start Day Care: Delayed 2 Hrs, Staff report at 9:00 AMParsons Early Learning Center: Delayed 2 Hrs, Staff report at 9:00 AMPerth Bible Christian Academy: Delayed 2 HrsPine Plains CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCESPineview Comm Church Pre-School: Delayed 1 Hr, open at 8:30Prospect Center: Delayed 2 HrsPumpkin Patch (Albany): Delayed 2 HrsQueensbury UFSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCESQuestar III BOCES - Sarah's Sisters: Delayed 2 HrsQuestar III Catskill Academy: Delayed 2 HrsQuestar III Columbia-Green Ed Ctr: Delayed, No AM BOCES, 2 HR DelayQuestar III Rensselaer Academy: Delayed 2 HrsQuestar III Rensselaer Edu Ctr: Delayed 2 Hrs, Q3 New Vision is closedQuestar III Sackett Educational Ctr: Delayed 2 HrsRavena-Coeymans-Selkirk CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCESRed Hook CSD: Delayed 2 HrsRensselaer City SD: Delayed 2 HrsRhinebeck CSD: Delayed 2 HrsRiverRun Community Montessori: ClosedRoots and Wings Montessori: Delayed 2 Hrs, No before care. Open 9:30Rosa Venerini Early Childhood Cente: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pgm, No am classes or beforecare School opens at 11amRoxbury CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, RCS is now delayed 2 hrs - roads are in worse shape then expected. Stay off the side roads until treated , drive carefully today January 18Sacred Heart School (Troy): Delayed 2 Hrs, TSL will open at 9:00amSalem CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCES, No BreakfastSaratoga Academy Arts & Science: Delayed 2 HrsSaratoga Bridges: Delayed 1 HrSaratoga Central Catholic HS: Delayed 2 HrsSaratoga County Senior Meals: ClosedSaratoga Independent School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No Before CareSaratoga Springs City SD: Delayed 2 HrsSaugerties CSD: Delayed 2 HrsSchalmont CSD: Closed, Level 1 ClosureSchenectady City SD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-KSchenectady Jewish CC Day Care: Delayed, Opening at 8:30 amSchenevus CSD: ClosedSchodack CSD: Delayed 2 HrsSchoharie CSD: ClosedSchoharie Career and Technical Scho: ClosedSchoharie County ARC: Open, Buses on Snow Routes, Staff report regular time Public bus aides report regular timeSchoharie County Com. Action Prg.: ClosedSchoharie Cty Child Dvp Cobleskill: Closed, No AM Pre-K, No AM Head Start, HS & EHS closedSchoharie Cty HeadStart (Schoharie): Closed, HS & EHS closedSchool's Out, Inc.: Open, No AM ProgramSchuylerville CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCES, No BreakfastScotia-Glenville CSD: Delayed 2 HrsSharon Springs CSD: ClosedShenendehowa CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM K, No AM BOCESShooting Stars Nursery & After Sch.: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-School, Will open at 9amSkidmore Early Childhood Center: Delayed, No AM Pre-SchoolSouth Colonie CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCESSouth Glens Falls CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCESSouthern Adirondack Edu Ctr: Delayed 2 Hrs, 12 month offices 2 hour delaySouthern Berkshire Regional SD: ClosedSpa Christian School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM K, No AM Pre-KSpotted Zebra Learning Center: Delayed 2 Hrs, SZ opens at 9:30 Program begins at 10:30 K Program begins at 11:00St Ambrose School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM PgmSt Anne Institute: Delayed 1-1/2 Hrs, Staff Report, No Trans, No school for day service StudentsSt Clement's Regional Catholic Sch: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM Pre-SchoolSt Edward's Church: Delayed 2 Hrs, No Mass and morning activitiesSt George's School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-School, AEP will begin at 11 amSt Gregory School: ClosedSt Jude the Apostle School: Delayed 2 HrsSt Kateri Tekakwitha School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pgm, No BreakfastSt Madeleine Sophie Pre-School: Delayed 2 HrsSt Madeleine Sophie School: Delayed 2 HrsSt Mary's Academy (Hoosick Falls): Delayed 2 HrsSt Mary's Church (Crescent): Delayed, No morning MassSt Mary's Institute ES (Amsterdam): Delayed 2 HrsSt Mary's School (Ballston Spa): Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-School, Before Care open at 8:00 amSt Mary's School (Waterford): Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-KSt Mary's-St Alphonsus Rgnl Cath: Delayed 2 Hrs, No Pre-K No AM Camp KerrySt Mary's/St Alphonsus Noah's Ark: Delayed 2 Hrs, Open at 9:45St Paul's Childhood Center: Open, No AM Pre-K, Part-day room closed only. Extended-day rooms open.St Pius X School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-KSt Stephen's Pre-K Acad (Delmar): Closed, No preschool today. After school enrichments are on until further notice.St Thomas the Apostle School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-KStepping Stone Pre & DCC (Albany): Delayed 2 HrsStillwater CSD: Delayed 2 HrsStory Place Preschool: Delayed, Open at 10, before care closedStorybook Academy: ClosedSullivan BOCES: Closed, Offices will open at 10 amSunshine Kids Corner: Delayed 2 Hrs, Opening at 9AMSusan Odell Taylor School: Delayed 2 Hrs, No coffee hourTLC Christian Day Care: Delayed 2 Hrs, No BreakfastTaconic Hills CSD: Delayed 2 HrsTech Valley High School: Closed, Staff report at 10 AM.Temple Israel Nursery and Day Care: Open, No early drop off School starts at 9:00The Albany Academies (AA & AAG): ClosedThe Beagle School: Delayed, No AM Pre-K, No AM Pre-School, All AM programs closedThe Downtown School: Delayed 2 HrsThe Hyde Collection: Delayed 2 HrsThe Kid's Place Preschool: Delayed 1 HrThe King's School: ClosedTiny Tots Early Learning Center: Closed, No AM Pre-School, No AM Preschool PM TBDTri-Village Nursery School: ClosedTroy City SD: Delayed 2 HrsTroy Prep: Delayed 2 HrsTwin Valley Elementary School: Delayed 2 HrsTwin Valley Middle High School: Delayed 2 HrsUMC Daycare Norton Hill: Delayed 1 Hr, No AM Pre-KUnlimited Potential, Inc: Delayed 1 HrUpstate Transit: Delayed 2 HrsVictory Christian Academy: Delayed 2 HrsVoorheesville CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM BOCES, No BreakfastWSWHE BOCES - Gick Road: Delayed 2 Hrs, 12 moth offices 2 hour delayWWAARC—Albany & Queensbury: Delayed 1 Hr, Staff Report Regular TimeWaldorf School (Saratoga Springs): Delayed 2 Hrs, No 2 day PreKWarren Street Academy - The Bridge: Delayed 2 Hrs, No BreakfastWashington County Nutrition Program: Closed, No Senior Meal Sites ; No Home Delivered MealsWaterford-Halfmoon UFSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No BreakfastWatervliet City SD: Delayed 2 HrsWebutuck (Northeast) CSD: Delayed 2 HrsWesley Evergreen Adult Day Program: Delayed 2 HrsWest Canada Valley CSD: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-K, No AM BOCESWheelerville UFSD: ClosedWhispering Pines (Cobleskill): ClosedWhispering Pines - Schoharie UPK: ClosedWhispering Pines Pre Sc (Amsterdam): Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-KWhispering Pines Pre-sch (Delanson): ClosedWhispering Pines Presch - Boulevard: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-KWhispering Pines Preschool at Meco: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM Pre-KWilton Baptist Academy: Delayed 2 Hrs, No AM KWindham-Ashland-Jewett CSD: ClosedWonderland Nursery School: ClosedWoodland Hill Montessori School: Delayed 2 Hrs, Delayed 2 hours . No early care. No toddler AM session, delayed 2 hours. No early care. No toddler AM sessionWorcester CSD: ClosedWynantskill UFSD: Delayed 2 HrsYMCA (Bethlehem): Open, No Morning ClassesYMCA (East Greenbush): Open, No Morning Classes, Child Watch opens at 9am, Before School Care 6:45amYMCA (Greater Glenville): Open, No AM classes before noon.. No babysitting before noon.YMCA (Guilderland): Open, No AM Pre-School, No Morning Classes, No AM branch childcareYMCA (Schenectady): Open, No Morning Classes, Child Watch Closed for AMYMCA (Troy): Open, No Morning Classes, Child Watch opens at 9amYMCA Southern Saratoga: Open, No Morning ClassesYWCA of Schenectady Children's Ctrs: Delayed, YWCA child care @SCCC delay Until 8am. WA site delayed Until 9amYWCA of the Greater Capital Region: Delayed 2 Hrs

Make up for lack of sunlight with vitamin D

Make up for lack of sunlight with vitamin D

JoEllen Welsh says people in the Northeast should take vitamin D during the cold weather season.

Winter is prime time for warm soup and hot chocolate by the fireplace.

JoEllen Welsh says people in the Northeast should make time for another seasonal tradition — vitamin D — during the cold weather season.

Welsh, a professor at the University at Albany’s Gen*NY*Sis Center for Excellence in Cancer Genomics who has researched the role of vitamin D in breast cancer, said the vitamin is vital for bone strength and cellular health. Now is the time to make sure levels are correct, she said, because people lose natural supplies of vitamin D during late autumn.

“Vitamin D is synthesized in the skin when we go outside in the sun,” Welsh said. “There is a chemical within our skin that is activated and converted to vitamin D. This is the same as the vitamin D that we get in our diet or in our supplemented foods or pills.”

People who live in a sunny climate or spend plenty of time in the sun, Welsh said, do not have to rely on dietary sources of the fat-soluble vitamin D.

“But up here in the north, obviously we have cloud cover, we have winter and we don’t make any vitamin D from about November to April,” Welsh said. “So we’re really, really pushing people to be aware that they have to eat or consume foods that contain vitamin D or they have to take a supplement during the winter, at least.”

The sun’s position during winter months means people in the Northeast receive weaker, less potent sunlight. Even if winter sunlight were stronger, Welsh said, most skin is covered by winter hats, coats and pants.

Vitamin D deficiency is a serious health concern, according to Dr. Michael Holick. He wrote about deficiency in his 2010 book “The Vitamin D Solution: A 3-Step Strategy to Cure our Most Common Health Problems.”

“People cannot feel vitamin D deficiency and that’s why people haven’t really taken vitamin D deficiency very seriously,” Holick said in an interview with his publisher, Hudson Street Press. “But we’re now recognizing that vitamin D deficiency has very serious health consequences — increasing your risk of common cancers, Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 diabetes, auto-immune diseases like multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis, increasing risk of heart disease, increasing risk of heart attack and stroke, increasing risk of having depression.”

Holick said symptoms of vitamin D deficiency are often aches and pains in muscles and bones.

“Often physicians mis-diagnose this as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome or simply will write the patient off as being depressed,” Holick said, “not realizing these are classic signs and symptoms for vitamin D deficiency.”

People have been told that vitamin C helps fight winter colds. Welsh said vitamin D is important for strong bones.

“It’s needed to maintain the amount of calcium in the system and calcium is what hardens bone,” Welsh said. “If you don’t have vitamin D, then you’re not going to absorb calcium from your diet and then your bone density will suffer.”

Without vitamin D, bones will become rubbery. In children, Welsh said, vitamin D deficiency can cause weight support issues — and kids may become bowlegged. In adults, osteomalacia can develop — soft bones.

The vitamin does more than help with proper calcium levels. Welsh said researchers have learned vitamin D reacts with a “receptor” found in body cells.

“With respect to cancer, we think it’s important for vitamin D to be present to activate this receptor in the normal cells and prevent them from progressing into cancer cells,” she said. “It’s like a key into a lock. Vitamin D would be the key going into the cell and turning on this mechanism to protect the cells from cancer development. We’ve also seen the effects of Vitamin D on the cardiovascular system and diabetes and the immune system. So it’s in all cells, this receptor. And in different cells it does different things.”

Welsh said about 20 percent of the U.S. population is living with vitamin D deficiency. Because blacks and Hispanics have darker skin and are unable to produce vitamin D naturally, Welsh said, the deficiency figure is between 40 and 50 percent.

“It’s a substantial number we’re talking about,” she said.

Newborns who are being breast fed by their mothers can also be at risk.

“There’s not a lot of vitamin D in breast milk, so babies that are exclusively breast fed may be at risk,” Welsh said. “In fact, there’s been a resurgence of rickets in breast-fed babies. A lot of women think that breast milk is the perfect food and obviously think no other supplements are needed. But vitamin D is an exception.”

People can get their winter doses of “D” relatively easy. Vitamin pills are one way, as long as people are getting a minimum of 600 international units (IU) of vitamin D every day.

The 600 units value is relatively new. Welsh said multi-vitamins used to contain 400 units of vitamin D; the new number is meant to just maintain their current vitamin D levels.

“For some people who are deficient, they can get prescriptions for vitamin D up to 50,000 units in a pill they would take once a week,” Welsh said. “I guess the bottom line is if people are concerned that they don’t get out in the sun enough or don’t have a supplement or don’t eat foods that are high in vitamin D, then they should get the vitamin D blood test, which will determine where they are. Are they deficient, are they just a little bit low or are they fine? From there, we can determine what is needed.”

The U.S. Drug and Food Administration, on its website, said there are health risks in taking too much of some supplements, such as vitamins A, D and iron. And the agency also cautions about unsafe amounts of liquid vitamin D given to infants. The FDA recommends that a dropper used to give infants vitamin D not hold more than 400 units — to reduce the possibility of dosing errors.

People can also find vitamin D in food sources. But that can be difficult.

“The problem is it’s not hardly in any foods,” Welsh said. “It’s in fatty fish, not all fish, fatty fish like salmon is a good source. It’s in egg yolks, and basically not much else.”

Fish oil capsules — in the news earlier this year as a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that the capsules may not be as beneficial to cardiac health as once thought — may not be vitamin D boosters.

“Most of the fish oils are designed to provide the omega fatty acids and not provide vitamin D,” Welsh said. “So the actual cod liver oil that they used to give kids in the ’20s is what does contain huge amounts of vitamin D and also vitamin A.”

Cod liver oil may not be the answer for 2012.

“One of the issues that we still don’t know,” Welsh said, “we don’t know what is the relative amount of vitamin D versus vitamin A that we need because in some cases they’re competitive with each other … we haven’t really sorted that out in the lab. For most people I would recommend going with just a pure vitamin D tablet. A lot of them also have calcium, which isn’t necessarily bad, but you don’t really need extra calcium if you have the vitamin D.”

Some foods advertise that vitamin D has been added. Milk is one of these products, so is orange juice.

“You have to read the labels,” Welsh said. “Some of these supplemented foods do have vitamin D added but it’s not at very high amounts.”

Once the sun is in a more favorable position to provide the Northeast with strong rays of light, vitamin D fans will get their fair shares. But they will also have to worry about sun damage.

“One of the things that we suggest in mid-summer, when you do have the risk of burning, just expose the skin for maybe 10, 15 minutes and then apply the sunscreen,” Welsh said. “That’s the sensible way, but that’s easy to forget or people don’t pay attention to the adding the sunscreen part. You have to use your good judgment. Some people tan better than others, some people burn and so it’s really a matter of knowing your own skin type, knowing your environment and knowing your vitamin D status.

People don’t have to take a 15-minute sun shower every day. “Probably every couple days would be sufficient,” Welsh said.

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