Hiding From the Sun? Are You Getting Enough Vitamin D?

suncream on legsFor the last 30 or so years, we’ve been told over and over: the sun is bad, the sun will give you cancer, tanned skin equals damaged skin… the list goes on. Wear sunblock! Don’t get a tan!

The problem with this line of thought is that most people these days just don’t get enough sun, and are therefore extremely low in vitamin D. Even if you follow the government’s recommendations when it comes to supplementation, you’re likely still deficient; in fact, it’s possible that up to 90 percent of all people living in the U.S. are vitamin D deficient.

Vitamin D is essential for good health

Vitamin D is extremely important when it comes to health. It’s called a vitamin but acts more like a hormone. It works to protect against bone fractures, aids in bone growth (and regrowth), and helps your body absorb calcium and phosphorous. It also helps protect against cancer, diabetes, obesity, and osteoporosis, among other ailments. It’s essential to the endocrine system, too.

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Your body can synthesize vitamin D through exposure to the sun.

Get out in the sunshine (but not for too long)

As for getting out there in the sun, you’ll have to ease into it if you’re not accustomed to sun exposure. The goal is to never burn; you never want to be more than a flushed pink color.

If you have light skin, limit your exposure for the first few times to just a few minutes, particularly if it’s at the height of the day in the summer. If you have darker skin or are already tanned, you can stay out for longer.

The more tanned you are, the longer you can/should stay in the sun in order to get optimum vitamin D.

If you’d like a moisturizer, use something like coconut oil; anything with a chemical SPF will block your body’s ability to produce vitamin D and will make the exercise pointless.

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Once you’ve gotten your sun for the day, cover up with long sleeves, wear a hat, and stay in the shade if possible to avoid being burned. If you’ll be out in the sun all day, use a non-toxic sunblock after you’ve gotten your daily dose.

If it’s winter, you live in a place where you can’t get enough sun for optimal vitamin D levels, or work inside and don’t get out enough, then you’ll need to supplement. For the best results, everyone should have their levels checked; ask your doctor to check your 25 OH D. It should be around 40-60ng/ml.

Recommended Vitamin D Dosage

Dosage recommendations according to Dr. Mercola (not taking into consideration your starting levels):

Kids below the age of 5:  35 units per pound per day

Kids aged 5 to 10: 2500 units per day

Adults:   5000 units per day

Pregnant Women:  5000 units per day

**For a more specific dosage, aim for 35 units per pound per day.

According to the U.S. government, the recommended daily intake is 400 IU for babies, kids, and adolescents; 200 IU for adults up to 50; 400 IU for adults aged 51 to 70; and 600 IU for adults over 70.

Vitamin D is so important to practically every organ in your body and for many functions, so it’s important to make sure you’re getting an optimum amount of this amazing vitamin every day.

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