We get so little sun during the winter months in Oregon that most of our patients at Calypso are deficient in Vitamin D and take high doses in daily supplements. But now that our days are filled with sunshine (yay!), how much of this supplement is necessary?
How Much Should I Take?
The amount of Vitamin D to take depends upon how much your body has; since it is a fat soluble vitamin it is possible to take too much. Excess vitamin D doesn’t wash into your urine like Vitamin C or the B vitamins do. Dr. Amanda and I have tested hundreds of Vitamin D levels over the years, and because of Oregon’s long wet season very few have been within normal range. Most labs consider adult levels to be normal when they are between 30 and 100, but want them to be optimal between 50 and 100. Someone with a Vitamin D level of 16 will have to take more than someone who has a level of 42.
How Much Vitamin D Do I Get From The Sun?
Although most people know that we get Vitamin D from the sun, many don’t know that people with fairer skin make more of it, and people with darker skin often need more supplementation. We make the most Vitamin D when the sun is high in the sky and our shadow is short. Additionally, the more skin we expose to the sun the more of this vitamin we make.
Don’t Overdo It
We don’t want to overdo sun exposure because too much has been correlated with squamous cell carcinoma, a certain type of skin cancer. For this reason, it is always important to discuss your skin cancer risk factors with your physician. Dr. Amanda and I are always happy to educate and help you optimize your health. Prepare ahead and know how much time to expose your skin to the sun, and when to cover up and/or wear sunscreen. If you tend to lose track of time in the sun, consider getting one of these watches to help you know when you have had enough exposure, so you can cover up, get out of the sun, or apply more sunscreen.
The Take Home
Maintaining optimal Vitamin D levels is important for so many functions in the body – from immune to nervous systems to our sense of well being and more. Call us today at 503 472-5500 and make an appointment to have your Vitamin D level checked or re-checked, so you know how much to take in the upcoming months!
Many thanks to The Vitamin D Council for its awesome advocacy!