Sunshine or supplements? Getting the right amount of Vitamin D

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I’ve written about the importance of getting the right nutrients many times. We know how vital it is to have the proper intake of vitamins and minerals. One of the most important nutrients that the human body needs is vitamin D. Unfortunately, the most people tend to know about vitamin D is that your body needs sunshine to produce it.

But what exactly vitamin D?

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is naturally present in select group of foods, added to others, and available as a dietary supplement. It is also produced inside the body when ultraviolet rays from sunlight strike the skin and trigger vitamin D synthesis.

Vitamin D plays an important role in helping your body heal itself and prevent disease. Low levels of vitamin D are linked to an increased risk of type 1 diabetes, muscle and bone pain, and, perhaps more serious, cancers of the breast, colon, prostate, ovaries, esophagus, and lymphatic system. Vitamin D is also key to regular blood pressure, and stimulates cancer fighting agents.

Click here to read more about the benefits of vitamin D

How do I get the right amount of vitamin D?

For starters, there are a few healthy foods that contain vitamin D. Foods like fatty fish, egg yolk, and fortified milk all contain vitamin D that your body can use. Getting your nutrients from healthy food is the best way to get what your body needs.

Getting some sunshine is also very important to your body. Exposure to ultra-violet light found in sunshine triggers vitamin D production within your body. Getting outside and letting your skin absorb some sunlight will help this process. As always, make sure to practice sun safety, so as to not sunburn or damage your skin. sunshine02Read my earlier post on protecting your skin from the sun. You don’t need to lay down and tan to get vitamin D. Just being outside and exposed to the sun in small doses is enough to help your body. I don’t recommend using tanning booths or any other kinds of artificial tanning, as they bear an increased risk of skin cancer.

Click here to see the top ways to get Vitamin D

If you live somewhere without much sunshine, or with long winters it can be hard to get the sunlight needed to trigger vitamin D production in your body. It may be necessary to get the right amount of vitamin D by taking some supplements. Vitamin D is found is most multi-vitamins, and is also plentiful in cod fish oil. I recommend having a steady source of Vitamin D in your diet if you cannot get much sunlight during the day.

sunshine03Check out one of my past blog posts for advice on choosing vitamins and supplements

In short, getting the right amount of Vitamin D is important to many aspects of your body’s health. Make sure to eat healthy foods containing the nutrient, get a safe amount of sun exposure, and if necessary, get Vitamin D though the use of supplements. Your body will thank you!

As always, best wishes for a happy and healthy life,

Dr. Johnson