The Sunshine Vitamin – should you take Vitamin D when you can make it in your skin?

getting her sunshine vitamiVitamin D is known as the “sunshine vitamin” because we make it in our skin when the sunshine shines on us!

How much we make depends on lots of things such as how long we are in the sun, how much of our skin is exposed and our skin colour.

In cloudy places such as Canada or northern Europe and even in the northern half of the USA it can be difficult to get enough sunshine to meet our needs.

And even in a sunny place like Spain or Florida if we spend each day indoors doing our work and each evening indoors watching TV then we still do not get enough sunshine to make an adequate dose of vitamin D for our health.

Studies show that 75% of Americans are deficient. And that even people living in the sunniest parts of the world frequently test as deficient in vitamin D

Because vitamin D is such an important vitamin we need to get an adequate dose of it to be in the best health. Before we look at dosage and how to get it let’s talk about what vitamin D can do for your health.


What are the benefits of vitamin D?


What most people know about vitamin D is that it prevents the bone disease of Rickets. This was very common in the past when our cities were blanketed with industrial pollution and little ultra violet sunlight penetrated this man made gloom.

child with Rickets

It is wrongly thought that rickets does not occur now.

Rickets hits the young mostly but there is an accompanying disease for the elderly called osteomalacia. This involved a softening of the bones and vitamin D deficiency leading to severely low levels in the blood is often found in nursing homes.

What is the correct dose of vitamin D?

Another non fact that you may believe in that being exposed to the sun is dangerous. Dermatologists are responsible, or should we say, irresponsible for this urban myth.

All good things can be overdone but sensible sun exposure is now considered as protection against internal cancers.

Also interesting is that you cannot get an overdose of vitamin D due to sun exposure. The body has automatic mechanisms built in that prevent it.

Overdose is difficult from Vitamin D supplements too.

Dr. Michael Holick relates a case of a manufacturing confusion producing a vitamin D powder that gave the individual taking it 1,000,000 iu a day. Just to state that again – one MILLION iu a day.

Nobody taking standard 1000iu tablets or 5,000 iu drops is going to get an overdose in my opinion. They would have to spend hours swallowing tablets every day…

The real danger is under dosing which is what many people are doing. The way to find out what your body needs is to do a simple blood test.

An adequate level is around 50 to 80 ng/ml. Many are walking around with blood levels below 20, even thought they eat fish, drink milk etc and that is a scandal.

An absolute rock bottom level for a vitamin D supplement is 1,000 iu daily. My advice is to double this in the winter, if not treble it. We get most colds and infections in the winter and it is because we get less vitamin D then.

Vitamin D boosts the immune system because each cell in the body including macrophages, our immune cells have vitamin D receptors. The receptors are not there for decorative effect. They are there because vitamin D boosts the activity of the macrophage – the hard working defenders of our immune system.

Bullet Point Summary for Vitamin D

  • Vitamin D helps to build strong bones
  • And boost the immune system
  • And protect from cancer
  • Safe as a supplement because overdosing is difficult
  • Best obtained from the sun
  • Otherwise as a supplement use vitamin D3

There are many other health benefits so I will provide sources below for you to chase up. Make sure you watch Dr.Holicks’ video. He goes fast and it is very entertaining.

Here is the video, courtesy of the University of California…

If you have enjoyed the article then please share with your family and friends and do please feel free to comment below…


AuthorAlex Newell ND

I love learning and being healthy so as soon as I came across Yoga, read and practised to get the health benefits. When I was approaching middle age my health declined under the onslaught o stress and possibly poor diet, I had a perfect opportunity to learn more and I qualified in both Osteopathy and Naturopathy. Our health really is in our own hands and not in the hands of "The Doctor" or our Genes :-)

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