Do You Still Need to Take Vitamin D in The Summer?
The 'sunshine vitamin' is a fat-soluble vitamin that is also considered a prohormone since the body can produce it with sunlight and can obtain it without food. Vitamin D is essential for supporting heart health, cancer prevention, blood pressure, a strong immune system, balanced insulin levels, healthy skin, and strong bones and teeth by promoting the absorption of calcium1. It’s also a helpful nutrient when dealing with symptoms of COPD, PMS, anxiety, and depression2. With changing seasons, when do we need to take more vitamin D and what is a healthy amount to take in the winter and summer? There are two forms of vitamin D supplementation: D2 (ergocalciferol, which is plant-based3) and D3 (cholecalciferol, which is animal-based or Lichen, which is plant-based4). Looking at a study conducted by the American Society for Nutrition, the D3 form of vitamin D is more effective at raising your levels of vitamin D efficiently.
Vitamin D DeficiencyThere are more than 3 million cases of vitamin D deficiency a year in the United States5. Some of the signs and symptoms are:
- Getting sick more often
- Brittle bones
- Fatigue and tiredness
- Bone and muscle pains
- Depression and anxiety
- Difficulty healing
- Stomach issues like pain, bloating, and gas
- Hair loss
Taking Vitamin D in The Summer Versus The WinterDuring the summer months, we go outside in the warmth and sunlight. This is why our bodies get more of the vitamin D we need. It generally takes around 15 to 20 minutes of direct sunlight 2 to 3 days a week is all you need for your body to make a sufficient amount of vitamin D. But make sure to protect your skin and wear sunscreen when you expose yourself to the sun. If you don't get outside very often, then it is best to take a vitamin D supplement. If you are still unsure, check with your doctor. In the winter, you are less exposed to the sun which is why you will most likely want to up your intake of vitamin D. If you live in the United States north of the latitude line that runs from Atlanta to LA, you will unlikely be synthesizing enough vitamin D naturally during the winter time. The angle of the sun will be too steep to provide you with adequate sunlight. It is helpful to know your vitamin D levels in both the summer and winter to adjust your supplementation as needed. To make sure you are getting enough vitamin D, we recommend you take NATURELO’s Plant-Based Vitamin D supplement made from wild harvested lichen.
References: 1. Vitamin D - Fact Sheet for Health Professionals, Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health 2. Vitamin D and Depression: Where is all the Sunshine?, 2011 Jun 1 3. Vitamin D in plants: a review of occurrence, analysis, and biosynthesis, 2010 Aug;54(8):1055-61. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.200900578 4. Vitamin D, The Mayo Clinic 5. Trends in the Diagnosis of Vitamin D Deficiency, 2017 Sep 1