sunshineIf you read the paper or watch the news, you have heard about the importance of vitamin D.  Most people know that the best way to get their vitamin D is through daily sun exposure.  Our bodies make vitamin D when our skin is exposed to the sun.  Actually, vitamin D is not a vitamin at all but rather a hormone that targets more than 2000 genes in your body.  Because most people do not get out in the sun on a regular basis without sunscreen on, (sunscreen blocks vitamin D production) vitamin D deficiency is believed to be wide spread.  To complicate matters, as we age it becomes more difficult to produce vitamin D.

Experts can’t agree on the amount of vitamin D we need but we know that the body produces approximately 10,000 IU’s of vitamin D when our skin is exposed to the sun for 20 to 30 minutes.  We know that daily exposure to the sun, meaning exposure 365 days a years, is not necessary because the body stores vitamin D for future use.

What if you can’t get out in the sun regularly?  Is a vitamin D supplement the next best thing?  Most experts agree that allowing your skin to be exposed to the sun is best but in the event you can’t do this, go for a supplement.  If you take a vitamin D supplement you need to make sure it is being absorbed.  When we take vitamin D supplements we may require more fat soluble vitamins like vitamins A, E and K.  People with certain illnesses such as ulcerative colitis, celiac disease, and pancreatic issues may find it hard to absorb fat soluble vitamins.

I always tell my clients that the best way to get your vitamin D is from the sun.  Sunshine is healthy for you.  You just need to respect the sun.  To make up for insufficient sun exposure, vitamin D supplementation may be in order. Have your doctor routinely check your vitamin D levels with blood work.  If you are taking a supplement and your vitamin D levels are still low you may not be absorbing well.  Try supplementing with digestive enzymes which can help you to maximize nutrient absorption.