How to Get Your Needed Vitamin D Safely This Summer

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If you’re like us, you’re probably trying to get as much vitamin D this summer that you possibly can. If you didn’t know, sunlight gives the human body the ability to stimulate vitamin D production. It’s startling to find out that an estimated 50% of Americans are deficient in this vital life booster. This means you or someone in your family may be deficient.

Vitamin D deficiency is a major predisposing factor in at least 17 varieties of cancer, as well as heart disease, stroke, hypertension, autoimmune disease, type 2 diabetes, depression, birth defects, and infectious disease.

Vitamin D is also important for energy, cognitive function, and hormonal balance, and deficiency has been associated with increased insulin resistance, which may make it harder for you to burn unwanted fat.

And it’s so easy considering all you need to do is get more healthy sun exposure and eat oily fish.

And that’s what I recommend if you feel you may be Vitamin D deficient.

Take Advantage of the Free Source of vitamin D. I encourage you to take action today and start getting at least 15-30 minutes of healthy sun exposure every day. The best time to get sun is when UVB is optimal (sun is overhead) so go between 11-2. It’s important to get it from outside because even if you have a sunny window in your home or office, windows absorb (and thus block) UVB rays, so any sunlight you get through the glass won’t lead to the formation of active vitamin D.

Notice how great and full of energy you feel.

You should test your vitamin D levels at least once to get a feel for where you stand and what kind of maintenance dose (if any) you might need. The research indicates that a range of 25-50 with a target of 35 is reasonable.

If you’re below this, or not getting adequate sunlight, invest in a premium quality vitamin D supplement. Make sure the supplement contains vitamin K, an important vitamin D co-factor.

However, supplementation is not a substitute for natural healthy sunshine.

Many People Are Purposefully Preventing the Exposure to Vitamin D They may be scared of the sun thinking it will lead to skin cancer. They lather themselves up with (most likely toxic) sunscreen which prevents the UVB rays from getting into their skin, completely missing out on this FREE source of vitamin D!

Getting Sun Safely Interestingly, you can increase the amount of UVB that you’re able to absorb and decrease UVA which can do more skin and DNA damage - without using toxic sunscreens. Your body can naturally create photo protection from the sun for healthy skin by the food you eat.

1. First, eat an anti-Inflammatory diet by increasing your consumption of healthy omega-3 fats and decreasing omega-6s.  Sources of o-3 include (from best to worst) fish and seafood (like wild Alaskan salmon and sardines) and grass-fed meats.  If you’re not consuming these foods, supplement with a DHA/EPA supplement. Significant sources of o-6 include refined vegetable oils that have recently become a much larger part of our diets. Soybean oil, corn oil, canola oil, cottonseed oil, grapeseed oil, and many others are all very high in o-6, and have very little o-3.

2. Increase antioxidant-rich food

  • Vitamin E from free-range egg yolks, olive oil, avocado, and moderate amounts of sunflower seeds and nuts.
  • Vitamin C from almost all vegetables and fruits.
  • Vitamin B from vegetables, fruits, and animals. Vitamin B12 has no plant source, so animal foods (meat, dairy, eggs) are necessary for this particular B vitamin.
  • Carotenoids like lycopene from red fruits/ veggies like tomatoes, beta-carotene from sweet potatoes, carrots, and dark leafy green vegetables (amongst others), and astaxanthin from salmon, shrimp, and marine algae. Carotenoids combined with sufficient selenium in the diet offers even greater UV protection.
  • Flavonoids and Polyphenols from coffee, cacao, tea (green and black), citrus peel, grape seeds, red wine, herbs, spices, and berries
  • Take a high potency antioxidant supplement, like eOxidant before going in the sun.
  • Here are some great tips from Chris Kresser:

    • If you have fair skin, aim for spending about half the amount of time in the sun that it takes for your skin to turn pink (without sunscreen) two to three days a week. This could be as little as 10 minutes for those with very fair skin. If you have dark skin, you may need up to two hours per day to generate the same amount of vitamin D (which is why supplementation may be necessary for those with darker skin).
    • Pay attention to the time of day, latitude and season. This probably goes without saying, but you need less sun exposure at mid-day during the summer on the equator to generate a given amount of vitamin D than in the late afternoon during the winter in New York City. Vary your exposure accordingly.
    • Infants under 6 months old don’t have much of the protective pigment (melanin) in their skin. It’s best to avoid direct sun exposure at mid-day, use protective clothing and a hat, and limit exposure to the morning or late afternoon hours. Infants may be particularly susceptible to the toxic effects of some sunscreen ingredients, so use clothing or shade when possible.
    • Never burn yourself in the sun. Cover yourself with light clothing, wear a hat, shade yourself with an umbrella, tree or canopy, wear sunglasses, and/or use a safe sunscreen to prevent sunburn if you’re going to be exposed to sunlight for a prolonged period. Or make your own with all natural ingredients. The key ingredients for homemade sunscreen are carrot seed oil and zinc oxide. Both have high natural SPF and are natural and nontoxic.