Why You Need Vitamin D

If you are confused about vitamin D, you are not the only one. Studies show that 42% of the US population is suffering from low levels of vitamin D, an essential vitamin for your health. Some of this deficiency may be caused by simply not getting enough sunlight on your skin. Of course, many people avoid exposure to the sun in order to protect themselves from skin cancer. Fortunately, you can get enough vitamin D without harming your skin by choosing from several methods.


Unprotected exposure to the sun has gotten so much bad press, that people are now not getting enough sun to manufacture the needed levels of vitamin D. Going outside totally covered up and slathered in UV protection prevents you from getting the levels that you need. Also, if you live in colder climates, the sun's rays may be too weak in the winter to help you manufacture any vitamin D. Since vitamin D helps to strengthen bones, improves your immune system, and fights cancer, you can't afford to settle for low levels. Sunshine is still the best natural way to get enough vitamin D, requiring that you get about 10-15 minutes daily for light-skinned people and more for those with darker skins. Brief periods of UV exposure are healthy for you.


If you are not getting enough sun exposure to get your vitamin D, you may need to take a supplement. Although some foods are rich in vitamin D, it may be difficult for you to consistently consume enough to get between 1000-4000 IU, the level some feel is necessary to reach the proper blood levels. Other medical professionals recommend between 400-800 IU. The right amount for you will depend on what it takes to get your blood levels between 20 and 30 ng/ml. You really need to consult with your own physician to figure out how much vitamin D will help you stay healthy. Individual needs do vary, sometimes widely, so the recommended amounts may not be ideal for you. Many professionals feel that taking more than 4000 IU can be harmful.

Vitamin D is vital to having and maintaining good health. You should not fear brief, unprotected times out in the sunlight as long as you do not get burned. You can protect your skin without eliminating all UV rays. Getting your vitamin D the natural way is the best method, but if you cannot do so consistently, opt for supplements and vitamin D rich foods.