Sunny days have arrived marking the beginning of vitamin D season. As people start spending more time outdoors, vitamin D production increases and people can enjoy all the health benefits this important vitamin has to offer.
Vitamin D promotes healthy bones, largely by increasing the absorption of calcium, and can reduce the risk of osteoporosis. It can also prevent type 1 diabetes, improve heart health, reduce muscle and bone pain, and even help prevent serious issues such as cancer.
The sun and supplements are the most common sources for vitamin D as food does not contain much of it, except for fortified products such as milk, dairy products and breakfast cereals. The sun is the most natural way to obtain vitamin D and it’s impossible to overdose D intake from sunlight as the body regulates production, stopping when reaching healthy levels. However, the sun can be dangerous if you are overexposed to its rays, but in limited quantities, it’s a great way to get your daily dose of vitamin D.
You may be in the sun for 5 to 30 minutes between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. at least twice a week without sunscreen, making sure to expose your skin to the sun. Some factors should be considered as they may significantly reduce D production. Cloud coverage, pollution, and your location (distance from the equator) can all affect how much vitamin D your skin can produce under sunlight.
If you are unable to get sun on a daily basis, vitamin D supplements are the way to go. Vitamin D3 cholecalciferol is highly recommended over than ergocalciferol (vitamin D2) as recent research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that vitamin D2 is less potent than vitamin D3.
Perhaps the best way to obtain vitamin D is alternating sun exposure, whenever possible and without risking sun burns, with vitamin D supplements, the best option for rainy days, people with busy schedules or sensitive skin.
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