Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin for good reason.  Our bodies produce vitamin D when our skin is exposed to the sun, but using sun block may prevent this reaction.  There have been a few studies recently that have shown the decrease in vitamin D to be significant and can be as high as ten fold when using sunscreen.

How much vitamin D do we need?

Some experts are recommended as much at 5000mgs of vitamin D each day, but the actual amount is still up for discussion.  What is known is that most of us don’t get enough exposure to the sun, which limits our vitamin D production.  The National Institutes of Health state that it takes only 20 min of sunlight exposure per day without sunscreen to produce the amount of vitamin D that you need each day.  Getting your20 minutes in the summer might not be an issue, but the winter months are a different story.  In the winter month here in the Midwest we cover our bodies from head to toe and run from our heated house to our heated car to our heated work with little or no exposure to the sun.

How can we get more Vitamin D?

In the colder months most of us don’t want to spend more time outside to boost our vitamin D, but there are other ways to get more through supplementation and diet.  Vitamin D can be purchased in a number of health food stores and vitamin shops.  It usually comes in 1000 IU tablets.  You can also obtain it from vitamin D rich foods such as salmon, milk or orange juice.

Is getting more Vitamin D worth it?

There have been some very promising studies of the health benefits of vitamin D and there is currently a Harvard study underway that is looking at the health benefits of Vitamin D.  I expect that we will see much  more about the sunshine vitamin in the near future.