benefits of sun exposure vitamin d

Vitamin D is an essential vitamin. Naturally produced in the skin through exposure to sunlight, this vitamin plays an important role in our health. And because we spend less time in the sun today than we did in the past, medical professionals are finding that many people are at risk for or already exhibit vitamin D deficiency.   

Who is most at risk for vitamin D deficiency? Older adults who are homebound, people with darker skin and those who live far from the equator are not able to absorb as much sunlight and therefore, may not be getting adequate vitamin D from this source.

If you can’t get vitamin D from sunlight, can you get it from other sources? Several foods are good sources of vitamin D, and supplements are available for those who cannot achieve the optimal level of vitamin D their bodies need through sunlight or food.

The accompanying infographic, Vitamin D Gets Its Moment in the Sun, provides an informative overview of this vital substance. It begins with a recitation of the many healthful benefits of vitamin D. Vitamin D has been found to increase mineralization of bones and teeth, increase muscle strength, and improve immune system functioning, respiratory health, mental health, heart health and gut health. That’s quite a list of accomplishments for a vitamin our bodies make with the help of the sun!

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The infographic goes on to present details about the sources of vitamin D: sunlight, food, and supplements. While sun exposure is the best and easiest way to get the recommended amount of vitamin D, many of us simply do not have the time or ability to get outside for time required for our skin to absorb and produce vitamin D. Other sources of vitamin D are appropriate in this case. Foods that are high in vitamin D include fatty fish, fortified milk, eggs, and more. And if that isn’t enough and a medical professional confirms that a person is at risk for or exhibits vitamin D deficiency, supplements may be recommended.

The amount of vitamin D we need daily is not a settled matter. Two different, highly respected organizations — the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and the Endocrine Society — recommend different amounts of vitamin D. We acknowledge that how much vitamin D you need is a difficult question to answer because it depends on the individual’s serum levels and risk factors. Before beginning a vitamin D supplement regimen, we suggest seeking the advice of your physician. A medical professional can order a blood test to measure the levels of vitamin D, assess your risk level, and make a recommendation from there.

Check out this vitamin D Infographic from ProHealth Longevity to learn more about the benefits of vitamin D from the sun.

Vitamin D Get Its Moment In The Sun
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