The Sunshine Vitamin

Welcome Spring! I aBright sun on blue sky with cloudsm so happy that you are here.   You have graced us with sunshine to boost our vitamin D levels.  Speaking of the sunshine vitamin, did you know that a little dose of daily sunshine goes a long way?  Most people will meet at least some of their vitamin D needs through sunshine alone.  Of course there are factors that affect UV radiation exposure and vitamin D synthesis: season, time of day, length of day, cloud cover, smog, skin melanin content, and sunscreen.  It may be helpful to know that cloud cover will reduce UV energy by 50%, shade will reduce UV exposure by 60% and sunscreens with an SPF will block vitamin D producing rays on the areas to which the sunscreen is applied.  Some research has suggested that 5-30 minutes of sun exposure at least twice per week between the hours of 10-3pm sans the sunscreen to your arms, face, legs or back can provide adequate UV rays for vitamin D synthesis.   But what about food? Interestingly, vitamin D occurs naturally in very few food sources. Some of  these sources include: egg yolks (yet one more reason to STOP tossing the golden nugget), sockeye salmon, cod liver oil, cheese, sardines and mushrooms.  Mushrooms? How random.  That’s right, growers are working on ways to enhance the amount of vitamin D this little fungi will produce by exposing them to more UV rays…. cool.

You may be wondering, how much Vitamin D do I need? The current Recommended Daily Allowance, or RDA is the same for men and women from age 1 all the way up to age 70- 600 IU per day.  Once you hit 71 years old, it boosts up to 800 IU.  This increase is partially due to the fact that as we age, our skin isn’t as efficient at synthesizing vitamin D.  It’s always a good idea to have your vitamin D levels checked.  The best form of vitamin D to have checked is D(25, OH)D, and you definitely want this level to be above 30ng/mL.  If you are told that you are deficient, and especially if it’s the winter months, you may want to supplement with a high quality vitamin D supplement in the form of D2 or D3.  My personal favorite can be found in my online Metagenics store.

As always, be sure your doc is aware of any and ALL supplements that you are currently taking.