Skip to main content

Don't let the winter months lead to "Sunshine Vitamin" deficiency

summer_sunshine.jpg
Sunshine a day keeps the doctor away
Sunshine a day keeps the doctor away
Photo courtest of Rgbspace | Dreamstime.com

The best natural source of vitamin D is sunshine. That is why vitamin D is nicknamed the “Sunshine” vitamin.

Today, over 100 million Americans are vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D deficiency can increase the risk of heart disease, 17 types of cancer, chronic pain, diabetes, depression, multiple sclerosis and arthritis. 

People are more likely to be deficient if they are older, heavier, have darker complexions and live farther from the equator.

In an interview with Diane Sawyer of ABC News, Dr. Memet Oz says that if he could only recommend one vitamin supplement, he would definitely recommend Vitamin D saying that is one of the best ways to enhance your immune system.

How do you know if you are vitamin D deficient? Dr. Michele Kettles, Cooper Clinic Medical Director and staff physician specializing in preventive medicine, recommends consulting your doctor to get a blood test to determine how many nanograms per milliliter of vitamin D you have in your body. You doctor will then work with you to come up with a strategy to achieve an optimal blood level of vitamin D.

Take action now to help prevent vitamin D deficiency.

The sun's UV rays naturally produce vitamin D in the body. In order to get adequate exposure to be beneficial, in the months between April and September, spend ten to fifteen minutes with your arms and legs exposed to the sun (without sunscreen). Between October and March, those living in the northern half of the United States do not get enough sun exposure to be beneficial.

The Indoor Tanning Association, reports that a well-known side effect of exposing the skin to ultraviolent (UV) light is the production of Vitamin D. According to Michael Holick, PhD, MD, director of the General Clinical Research Center and professor of medicine, physiology and biophysics at Boston University School of Medicine and senior author of a study on the effects of vitamin D and skin’s physiology, “Exposure to (commercial tanning bed) lamps that emit UVB radiation is an excellent source for producing vitamin D3 in the skin and is especially efficacious in patients with fat malabsortion syndromes.”

Other natural sources of vitamin D are fish and dairy products.

Here are a few choices for obtaining sufficient levels of Vitamin D in a day:

  • 5 full sardines - yummy, right?
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons of Cod Liver Oil per day - even better!
  • Vitamin D supplement – New research suggests most adults probably need to take about 2,000 IUs a day and that kids probably need about 1,000 IUs.
  • Sun – 10 to 15 minutes of sunlight per day to get your vitamin D and get a lift in spirits at the same time.

Did you enjoy this article? Please share your comments and click the "Subscribe" button above to receive e-mail alerts when Angie posts new articles.

Comments

  • sharig 5 years ago

    I wasn't aware of the actual problem of Vit D defeciency, but it is understandable when you actually look at how few people do get out into the sun. For so long it's been such a taboo, but I would rather use the supplements than the yummy sardines, besides I sunburn easily.