During the dark months of winter, a common is concern is how much vitamin D do you need?” and “Should I take Vitamin D supplements?”
Yes, we need vitamin D for optimum calcium absorption and bone formation. How much, if any, we need to take in depends on how much sunlight we get exposed to. A few minutes of sun on your face and arms in the summer is probably all you need. In the winter, we don’t get much vitamin D from skin production at all. Check out this article for an interesting image on how our bodies make vitamin D.
The only foods that naturally have significant vitamin D in it are fish and liver, so unless you’re eating a lot of those you’ll need to seek more sunlight or vitamin D supplementation. 600 – 800 international units a day is the most widely recommended dose for both children and adults.
Things vitamin D definitely helps:
- Bone health
Things vitamin D probably helps:
- Muscle strength and fall prevention in older people with vitamin D deficiency
Things vitamin D probably doesn’t help:
- Cancer prevention or treatment
- Cardiovascular disease prevention or treatment
- Immune function
The Bottom Line for How Much Vitamin D You Need?
You need normal levels of vitamin D for optimal bone health, and probably for overall health although evidence is limited. So get 15 minutes or so of daily sunshine on your face and arms without sunscreen in the warm months, and it’s a good idea to supplement with 600 – 800 IUs per day in the cold months.
If you are a Mission Direct Primary Care member and have questions about what if any vitamins or supplements you should be taking, please just give us a call or text. If you are interested in having direct access to your doctor head over here to learn more.