Are you getting enough Vitamin D? The truth is, most of us aren’t sure. A lack of Vitamin D is one of the most common vitamin deficiencies for Americans. And while sun exposure is one of the easiest ways to get Vitamin D, excessive sun exposure can be harmful to your health. But luckily, there are many additional ways to get the Vitamin D that your body needs to function properly and maintain good health. In fact, one of the easiest ways to fill a Vitamin D deficiency is by incorporating an organic health supplement into your daily diet.
In this blog, we’re taking a closer look at the importance of Vitamin D and what it does for your body. We also examine the risks of too much sun and offer up some effective methods for getting your body the Vitamin D it needs without the risks of sun exposure.
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Why is Vitamin D Important?
Vitamin D, also referred to as calciferol, is a fat-soluble vitamin that is essential for human health. Commonly known as the “sunshine vitamin,” Vitamin D plays an active role in many bodily functions. This vitamin is essential for your body to build and maintain healthy and strong bones. Additionally, Vitamin D also works to serve as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and even supports good brain health and a healthy immune system.
As you can see, Vitamin D is pretty important for a healthy, active body. However, it’s also one of the most common vitamin deficiencies for adults in the United States. In fact, according to Healthline, roughly 42 percent of adults do not get enough Vitamin D. A Vitamin D deficiency can be difficult to identify as the symptoms develop slowly over time. But that doesn’t make them any less serious. Over time, a Vitamin D deficiency can cause muscle weakness, bone loss, a weaker immune system, and an increased risk for certain cancers.
So how do you prevent a Vitamin D deficiency? While certain foods naturally contain this vitamin (and others, like milk, are commonly fortified with Vitamin D), the most common way to get Vitamin D is to be exposed to direct sunlight. That’s right. Stepping out into the sun doesn’t just feel nice, but in fact, it can be good for you. When your body is exposed to direct sunlight (UV rays), this triggers Vitamin D synthesis in your skin as your body begins to produce the active form of Vitamin D called calciferol. Thus, unlike most vitamins and nutrients, your body primarily relies on sunlight—not diet—to get what it needs.
What are the Risks of Sun Exposure?
While many of us love to soak up some sun and get that summer tan, we also know that too much sun can prove hazardous to your health. When your body get sunburned and feels hot, itchy, and painful to your touch, this is your body showing clear signs that you’ve received too much ultraviolet radiation.
Thus, it comes down to a balance and moderation. While your body needs some direct sunlight to produce Vitamin D, too much can leave you exposed to significant health risks. Some of the most common risks of excessive sun exposure include:
- Skin damage, which over time, can develop into skin cancer.
- Signs of early aging and poor skin health.
- Eye damage.
- Weaker immune system.
2 Ways to Get Sufficient Vitamin D Without Risking Sun Exposure
While moderate amounts of sunlight are beneficial for both your physical and mental health, you don’t want to overdue it. So you may be left asking: how am I supposed to get enough Vitamin D without exposing myself to the health risks of too much UV radiation? Luckily, there are several ways to get Vitamin D without running this risk.
Keep reading for some ways to get the Vitamin D your body needs:
- Food Sources: while few foods will provide the Vitamin D you need, this doesn’t mean there aren’t exceptions. Your best bets for getting Vitamin D in your diet include fatty fish (like salmon or sardines) and fish liver oils. Small amounts of this vitamin can also be found in egg yolks, cheese, and beef liver. Many foods are also fortified (which means it's added) with Vitamin D, including milk, cereals, and orange juice.
- Vitamin D health supplements: additionally, taking a Vitamin D health supplement is another effective way to get an adequate amount of this vitamin. Speak with your doctor about the potential of including a Vitamin D supplement into your diet.
Conclusion – How to Get Enough Vitamin D Without Risking Sun Exposure
Also known as the “sunshine vitamin,” Vitamin D is essential for good physical and mental health. However, some people find it hard to get enough of this vitamin as your body doesn’t produce it naturally. While some foods may include Vitamin D, such as fatty fish or fortified foods like milk and cereal, the most common way to get this vitamin is to spend some time outdoors on a sunny day. When exposed to direct sunlight, your body converts a chemical in your skin into an active form of Vitamin D.
But many may also worry about the risk of too much sun. While a moderate amount of time outdoors is good for you, overdoing it (especially without sunscreen) can damage your skin, eyes, and may even lead to cancer. This is why it’s important to pursue alternative methods for getting Vitamin D without simply sitting out in the sun all day. In addition to eating foods fortified with Vitamin D, you can also turn to a Vitamin D health supplement to ensure your body gets enough in your daily consumption.
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