If you search the internet, the numbers vary. From 30% to upwards of 80% of us are vitamin D deficient. I would argue that it would be 75% or more if an optimal vitamin serum level of 50 – 70 ng/ml were used in the analyses.
Regardless of the number, vitamin D plays such a crucial role in our health, you don’t want to be deficient, but probably are.
What has led to this deficiency in the first place? After all, our diet isn’t a great source of vitamin D, so even the standard American diet (SAD) isn’t a huge contributor to this shortage.
For this we go back to the sixties. It was then that over-exposure to the sun was found to be a contributor to premature wrinkling and skin cancer. This set off a belief that any sun exposure was bad. Add the various companies jumping on the bandwagon to promote sunscreen… don’t leave home without it!… and you have entire generations of people who virtually eliminate the ability to get the absolute best source of vitamin D… the sun. An SPF of 30 removes 99% of your ability to manufacture the sunshine vitamin!
Your skin uses UVB rays to manufacture vitamin D. But the only UVB rays that can produce vitamin D are those when the sun is at an angle of at least 50 degrees above the horizon. That means you need to be in the sun from around 10am to 2pm in order to catch the sun at its zenith. In Canada, you will only benefit from the sun’s rays from about the beginning of April until Labour Day. Any sun exposure before or after will not allow your body to produce vitamin D.
Eliminating the Vitamin D Deficiency
- Exposing at least 40% of your skin to 20 minutes of sunshine between 10am and 2pm in the summer months will give you’re the equivalent of 20,000 IU of oral vitamin D. Eat lunch outside or go for a walk at noon… but strip off some clothes and soak up the rays.
- While beyond the scope of this post, learn how to acclimatise your body to the sun without using sunscreen. Learn to tan by slowly increasing your exposure to the sun. Don’t burn or overdo it… but research is supporting the argument that the benefits of sunshine-generated vitamin D as a preventative to all kinds of chronic conditions far outweighs the risk of developing skin cancer.
- Mother Nature and the sun produce the best quality vitamin D. An oral supplement can’t beat it.
- In the northern climates once the season passes, a supplement or safe tanning bed are your best options.
- Vitamin D3 is essentially the same type produced by the sun. That is your supplement of choice. Vitamin D2 is synthetic and should be avoided.
- While many practitioners will advocate at least 1,000 IU per day of oral vitamin D3, the evidence tends to support a much higher dosage as optimal. 8,000 IU’s per day will help you attain a serum level in the range of 40 ng/ml… so as you can see, a much higher dosage of this inexpensive supplement is desirable.