Now that the days are getting shorter and I am not spending as much time outdoors, am I getting enough vitamin D?
Q. Dear Terry, “Now that the days are getting shorter and I am not spending as much time outdoors, am I getting enough vitamin D? Do I need to take supplemental vitamin D?” — Ruth B., Missoula, MT
A. Dear Ruth, While your body is capable of making vitamin D (triggered by sunlight striking your skin), you need about 15 to 30 minutes of sunlight a day with most of your skin exposed to get this process in motion in order to create good amounts of vitamin D. But now that summer has come to an end, the amount of sunlight is decreasing and changes in the weather mean we are spending less time outside. In northern climates, and among those who have limited mobility and don’t spend much time outdoors, vitamin D deficiencies are common.
I would recommend supplementing with vitamin D because it plays such a crucial role in multiple health issues, whether it is helping to reduce the risk of heart disease and dementia, promoting calcium absorption, preventing diabetes, slowing the progress rate of cancer, and even promoting weight loss!
There are two forms of vitamin D used in supplements. Vitamin D2 is the form of vitamin D synthesized by plants. It is also known as ergocalciferol. Cholecalciferol, or vitamin D3, is the form that is produced by the human body. Both D2 and D3 can increase circulating vitamin D levels, although many people prefer to use the D3 form as it is closer to what is already found in the body. I usually recommend about 2,500-5,000 IU of vitamin D3 a day for most people.
Terry . . . Naturally