What is the best way to get your Vitamin D? Sunshine! The lighter your skin, the less sun exposure you require. If you have Irish/Scandinavian skin like myself, you get a sunburn from the time it takes you to walk from the parking lot to the grocery store, and so fifteen minutes a day of sun exposure should be sufficient. However, those with darker complexions — for example, people of African descent — may need up to 10 times that number to make the same amount of Vitamin D.
One of my lovely Dominican friends who decided to move to our freezing section of the United States was having lots of colds, bronchitis, and strep infections. I suggested that she might be suffering from lack of Vitamin D since she was not getting the sunshine she was used to, and that she needed to start supplementing. (Yes, I’m one of those nosy type of friends.) After a few months on Vitamin D, her immune system definitely improved, and she stopped getting every cold and bug that her family and coworkers exposed her to.
In climates that are very hot or very cold, where no one wants to spend time outside, Vitamin D deficiency is a widespread problem. People who live in the Middle East, for example, have a very high risk for Vitamin D deficiency. My sister lived along the Persian Gulf for three years and developed a Vitamin D deficiency. Her symptoms included extreme fatigue, extremity pain and tingling. She could not figure out what was wrong with her. Eventually, her doctor had her Vitamin D levels tested, and she was very low. After a few months of supplementing, her symptoms improved.
Even in the U.S., however, it is estimated that almost one-third of the population are deficient in Vitamin D.
- Bone pain
- Muscle weakness
You are considered at risk for Vitamin D deficiency if you fall under any of these categories:
- Over age 50
- Have Crohn’s, celiac, or any inflammatory bowel disease
- Have dark skin
Low Vitamin D levels are linked with these health problems:
- Periodontal Disease
- Chronic kidney disease
- Congestive heart failure
Scary, huh? There is a dispute in the medical community about how much Vitamin D you should take, but, honestly, the FDA suggested levels are MUCH TOO LOW. Dr. Mercola of natural health fame recommends 8,000 IUs per day for adults. I personally take 3,000 IUs a day. When I’m sick, I take more. (Vitamin D has been shown to help fight infections). My father, who is diabetic, takes 10,000 IUs a day. This is what we both need to maintain our proper levels. We are both very white, and spend most of our time inside, staring at our respective computers. If you are also a computer nerd, please consider supplementing your Vitamin D.
Do you feel that you could be deficient in Vitamin D? Your health care provider can run a blood test and check your Vitamin D levels to see if you are deficient or not. Some health professionals recommend testing every six months.
If you’re unable to get enough sun on a daily basis and/or are having any of the symptoms above, consider supplementing with quality Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol).
DISCLAIMER: I am NOT a doctor, nor do I play one on TV. I am not offering medical advice. This site is for edu-tainment purposes only! EDU-TAINMENT!