I love warm weather! Summertime is the best time of year as far as I am concerned. The brilliance of a sunny day that lasts until eight or nine o’clock in the evening is so much fun. Feeling the warmth of the sun on my arms or my back is so wonderful. It is so great! In the past couple of years there have been medical reports about increasing your vitamin D levels and one way to do that is to spend time in the sun. There are also several medical reports about protecting yourself from the sun and worries about getting skin cancer and how to prevent it. How can we improve or maintain levels of vitamin D without causing skin cancer is a question that has been asked by my patients. The good news is that there are some really simple answers to that question.
Let’s talk about vitamin D and why it is important to your health and wellness. Vitamin D actually has several forms; the two most important in the human body are ergocalciferol (vitamin D2) and cholecalciferol (vitamin D3). Vitamin D3 is the active and most protective form. Vitamin D helps maintain the proper balance of calcium and phosphorus for bone health. It has been studied for its benefits of supporting immune function. Research has suggested that it may be helpful for high blood pressure, cancer and certain autoimmune diseases. There is a simple blood test to check your vitamin D levels to see if you need to increase them Once you know what your levels are there are several options.
It is true that you can increase your vitamin D levels through sun exposure. Ten minutes of sunlight each day can stimulate the production of vitamin D. The real key is to have 10 minutes each day all year round instead of laying out in the sun for hours on the weekend only during the summertime. There are high quality supplements usually in an oil base that you can take on a daily basis to increase your levels. There have been studies recommending between 1,000 – 5,000 IU per day. Checking with your physician on how much to take will be helpful for the specific amount you need daily. There are foods that are high in Vitamin D like fish, eggs, and cod liver oil.