With a weird weather pattern this summer many of us are complaining about our lack of sunlight…and our body is too. Sunlight is one of the main ways that our body is able to make the Vitamin D that it needs. So how do we get the D that we need?
The two main ways to get Vitamin D are through sunlight and through supplements. You cannot get enough Vitamin D simply through food.
When our bare skin is exposed to sunlight large amounts of Vitamin D3 are made in our skin. This can happen relatively quickly. A fair skinned person may only need 15 minutes in the sun to produce enough D. The key is to expose your skin (as much skin as possible) directly to the sunʼs rays for about half the time that it takes you to get pink. Remember that sunscreen blocks Vitamin D production. A great tip is to go outside for a couple of minutes without sunscreen and then go under shade to apply if planning to stay out longer. During poor weather or if you live in areas that do not have sun you can use a tanning bed. However, remember that exposing your skin to the sun or UVA/UVB rays for too long is unhealthy and can increase your risk of skin cancer.
If you are still in need of Vitamin D your doctor may prescribe a supplement. Vitamin D2 is sometimes prescribed by doctors, but it is recommended to take Vitamin D3 because it is the form of the vitamin that your body produces. Ask your doctor if you have more questions regarding your supplementation.
Hopefully, we will get a few more sunny days before this summer comes to a close. So get out there and get your D!
Katherine Horner, RD, LD, NASM-CPT, CES
Surgical Weight Loss Dietitian & Exercise Specialist