Today I want to talk about Vitamin D!! The sun vitamin! We need it to help us absorb calcium for strong bones. So how do we get enough Vitamin D?

The best way to get vitamin D is to spend at least 15 minutes out in the sun. Midday is best (especially in winter) to get enough sun. And it has to be WITHOUT sunscreen. Darker skinned individuals need more time in the sun than those with lighter skin. When the ultraviolet B rays hit our skin those rays turn cholesterol in our skin into Vitamin D!  At least 90% of our Vitamin D comes from sun exposure. Being in the sun is the best way because our bodies are made to create Vitamin D through sun exposure. When we spend more time in the sun the excess Vitamin D is de-metabolized. Our bodies know what to do with the naturally made extra Vitamin D!!

Vitamin D is also found in food. Many dairy products, orange juices, and cereals are fortified (meaning it doesn’t occur naturally in them) with Vitamin D. You can also find it in fatty fish like salmon and tuna. Also beef liver, egg yolks, and cheese. I think I would rather spend some time in the sun…

There are also supplements available that contain Vitamin D. They are not the best options for getting Vitamin D because too much can cause our bodies to over-process calcium. No one really knows exactly how much supplementary Vitamin D is safe so supplementing can have negative effects. Sunlight and food are the better options here.

Thanks to technology, work, and a more sedentary life style people as a whole are spending less and less time outdoors. This can cause a deficiency. So what happens when we don’t have enough Vitamin D? Mild cases of Vitamin D deficiency show up as memory loss, forgetting day to day information. Who knew a little time in the sun could help you remember what you walked into a room for? More severe deficiencies cause weak, painful, or even misshapen bones and rickets in children (soft bones that often cause bowed legs).

So spend a little time in the sun each day and help your body out! Remember at least 15 minutes without sunscreen!