Are You Getting Enough Vitamin D?

Sunshine

I wish I could say that now that it’s fall, we should all check our vitamin D levels and make sure that we have enough in our bodies. However, the truth is, for most people, getting vitamin D is becoming harder and harder – no matter what time of the year it is. Most of this is due to the fact that the best source of vitamin D  is the sun, but the sun has been blamed for a variety of health problems, so people are doing everything they can to avoid it. This in turn has led to a global vitamin D deficiency. The good news is this: you can still get some vitamin D from the sun and not put yourself at risk for getting sunburned or getting skin cancer.

Why do I need vitamin D?

Vitamin D serves many purposes, and does everything from helping your body absorb calcium (which is necessary for good bone health) to helping strengthen your immune system; vitamin D may even offer protection against a variety of diseases including psoriasis, some autoimmune disorders, and even cancer. (Click here for more information.)

What is the best source of vitamin D?

Most doctors recommend getting some sunshine every day, but the exact amount of time that you need to be outside differs from person to person. If you’re fair-skinned, I wouldn’t recommend being in the sun without sunscreen for more than 10-15 minutes. If you’re tan, 15-20 minutes should be fine. The darker your skin, the more exposure to the sun you need to make vitamin D. If you’re concerned about being in the sun, apply sunscreen after about 10 minutes to be on the safe side. I like to put some sunscreen on my face and hands, but wear a tank top and shorts – that way I can protect sensitive areas of my body, but expose some lesser sensitive areas. It’s also important to mention that the closer you live to the equator, the easier it is to get enough vitamin D from the sun. The middle of the day is when you should try to get some vitamin D from the sun. Check with your doctor to make sure you’re staying safe and protecting yourself while trying to get enough vitamin D – we don’t want any overexposure or sunburns!

What if I want to supplement?

Dr. Andrew Weil recommends 2,000 IU of vitamin D per day(based on research and the growing number of people with a vitamin D deficiency). Also, it’s important to note that there are several forms of vitamin D, including D2 and D3. Vitamin D3 is recommended when supplementing. If you want to know if you are vitamin D deficient, ask your doctor for a blood test; if you are deficient, ask your doctor how much you should supplement so that you know what is best for you (we are all different!). There are some vegan vitamin D3 supplements, such as Nature’s Plus Source of Life Garden Vitamin D3, which you can purchase here. (Be sure to check with your doctor before you start taking supplements!).

Vitamin D is important so I encourage you to get a blood test and make sure that you have enough; if  you are deficient, talk to your doctor about supplementing and repeat your blood test in a few months to make sure that you are doing everything correctly and safely. Best of luck! And if you can find some sun out there, go get some vitamin D!

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