The benefits of vitamin D are many. Fighting off rickets, osteoporosis, cancers, type 2 diabetes and heart disease are just a few. Used to, everyone got enough vitamin D from sunshine. But, now, there is a problem. Skin cancers, including the deadly melanoma, are on the rise, and UV sunlight is a major risk factor. We don’t know how much sun we can get, if any, without an increased risk. We are also not sure how much vitamin D is ideal, but the trend is for more.
What is a person to do?
The American Academy of Dermatology issued a position statement on vitamin D acknowledging its importance but insisting you can get enough even if you use sunscreen when outside. But the NIH says you can’t absorb it if you use an sunscreen spf of 8 or better. Living in a latitude above Boston? You can’t get enough, period, from November through February.
It is almost impossible to get adequate levels of vitamin D in your diet alone unless you are a dolphin and eat fish (like salmon, mackerel, tuna or sardines) twice every day.
All that’s left is a supplement. Take your pick, and be sure you get enough calcium, also. About 1,000 to 1,500 mg of calcium and 400 IU of vitamin D should do the trick (600 if you’re over 71). Now there is a viable alternative: two teaspoons of cod liver oil daily. Never underestimate Grandma’s advice.
How are you getting your vitamin D?