Daily Dose of Vitamin D: Sunlight or Supplementation?

Vitamin D is a fat soluble nutrient that is essential for our body to function optimally.  This vitamin is also critical in preventing infections combatted by the immune system. It helps the body absorb calcium, which is important for building strong bones.

There are two types of vitamin D: vitamin D3 and vitamin D2 with the main difference being that vitamin D3 is more potent in supplementation form. Vitamin D3 is also the type produced by your body when exposed to sunlight.

People living in the northern hemisphere during the colder months of the year may not get enough sunlight to reap the benefits that vitamin D provides. There are alternative options for ensuring adequate amounts of the vitamin.  Supplementation is a common way to get enough vitamin D.  Also, concentrated food sources of vitamin D include: fortified milk, eggs, select yogurts, cheese, and fatty fish such as cod, salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines, and herring.

Deficiency in this vitamin can lead to many chronic diseases such as: cancer, autism, obesity, heart disease, depression, muscle pain, osteoporosis, insomnia, cavities, diabetes, and hypertensions. Conversely, over exposure to sunlight is damaging and can cause skin cancer. Before stepping out into the sun, ensure that you are wearing proper level of protection on your skin with an SPF (sun protection factor) of 30 or higher.

Consult your primary care physician about checking your vitamin D level. The average high quality multivitamin contain approximately 50-1,000 IU (International Units) of vitamin D in each tablet or capsule.

Say hello to sunshine and and enjoy the remainder of summer while you can!

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