Vitamin D  

Sunlight or Supplementation

What is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble nutrient that plays a key role in almost all of our physiological functions.  As an immune system regulator, vitamin D is absolutely vital to vibrant health.  Although there are many forms of vitamin D, the two most common types are vitamin D3 and vitamin D2.

Vitamin D aids in the prevention of:

  • osteoporosis

  • many types of cancer

  • depression

  • diabetes and obesity

Although sunlight is one source of vitamin D, there are very few individuals who get enough exposure to reap the benefits that adequate levels of vitamin D provide.

In addition, excessive time in the sun can increase the risk of skin cancer.

How can we get Vitamin D?

While experts agree that vitamin D is crucial, there is some controversy over the best way to get it.  While some say exposure to the sun is enough, others encourage a supplement regimen.

Exposing your body to sunlight is the simplest way to get vitamin D.  Those with fair skin require about 45 minutes of exposure, while those with darker skin may require up to three hours a week to maintain sufficient levels.  Keep in mind that weather conditions affect proper exposure, so be on the lookout for clouds and smog!

In northern areas with limited sunlight, supplementation is a common way to get enough vitamin D.  High quality multivitamins contain approximately 50-1,000 IU (International Units) of vitamin D in each capsule or tablet.  If you are considering supplements, check with your primary care physician before starting a regimen.