Vitamin D is a fat-soluble nutrient that plays a key role in almost all of our physiological functions. This vitamin is vital to vibrant health as an immune system regulator. It is the only vitamin your body makes (and is a hormone). There are many forms, the two most common types are vitamin D3 and D2. Although sunlight is one source of this vitamin, very few individuals get enough sun exposure to reap the benefits that lead to adequate vitamin D levels.
How can we get enough Vitamin D?
Exposure to sunlight is the simplest way. Your body makes it naturally. However, the amount of sun you need to meet your vitamin D requirements varies depending on your geographic location, season, skin type, time of day, air pollution, body parts exposure, and age.
While some experts say exposure to the sun is enough, others say that the sun is not reliable, and they recommend supplementation. However, most experts agree that your level should be checked at least once a year. The correct blood test is 25 (OH) D, which is the best marker for measuring Vitamin D levels in the body.
Healthy Sun Practices
Spending 3-15 minutes outdoors for light-skinned individuals and 15-30 minutes outdoors for darker skin tones in midday, unobstructed sun with 40% of your skin exposed will provide most people with a protective vitamin D level (up to 50,000 IU of vitamin D in the next 24 hours). The Reference Daily Intake (RDI), however, is only 200-600 IU of vitamin D per day.
Studies suggest that 2000 IU per day has a protective effect, which can be delivered by regular sun exposure.
If you are supplementing with Vitamin D, how much should you take?
According to the U.S. National Academy of Medicine (formerly the Institute of Medicine), the suggested vitamin intake for most people is 400–800 IU, or 10–20 micrograms. From there, the recommended amount shifts according to age, race, and season. Deficiency symptoms can include fatigue, bone and back pain, and hair loss.
If you are supplementing, make sure you take a good quality supplement. Experts in the field have recommended that you take Vitamin D as D3 as well as taking Vitamin K2. The recommended ratio is that for every 1000 IU’s of Vitamin D, you should take 100 to 200 Micro Grams of Vitamin K2. The biological role of K2 is to help move calcium into the proper areas of your body and remove calcium from areas where it shouldn’t be.
Great Resources for More Information
Vitamin D plays many roles in your overall health. Here are some great resources to learn more:
- Natural News Blogs – includes several articles
- Yippy – this page shares detailed dosing information
- Integrative Nutrition – article on getting adequate dosing
- Dminder – There is a smart phone app called DMinder (dminder.info) that tells you how much UV radiation you are getting and how many IUs of Vitamin D you are making and it will also tell you when to get out of the sun to protect yourself from sunburn.
Dr. Joseph Mercola’s 5 Top Sunshine Tips
- Give your body a chance to produce Vitamin D; expose large amounts of skin (at least 40% of your body) to sunlight for short periods daily.
- When you will be in the sun for longer periods, cover up with clothing, a hat, long sleeves, or shade (get under an umbrella). A safe sunscreen can be applied after you have optimized your daily production.
- Shield your face from the sun daily using a safe sunscreen or a hat as your facial skin is thin and more prone to sun damage like premature wrinkling.
- Consider the use of an internal sunscreen like “Astaxanthin“( I love this product) to offer additional protection against sun damage. I also ingest and put organic virgin coconut oil on my skin.
- Consuming a healthy diet full of natural antioxidants is another incredibly useful strategy to help avoid sun damage to your skin.
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