Girls with colorful hats on the beach

Do you remember the good ole’ days when our greatest worry was getting enough Bain de Soleil to give us the San Tropez tan? Even today, I still love the sunshine. Put me on the beach, in a lounge chair with a good book and I will be as happy as a clam…..for days.

But with skin cancer reaching epidemic levels, many people are not sunbathing as much as they used to be and they are taking extra precautions to protect themselves by using sunscreen or avoiding the sun altogether. According to an article in Live Science, there is a growing debate among doctors over whether Americans are getting enough Vitamin D the “Sunshine” nutrient…..

“The Centers for Disease Control estimates that 24 percent of Americans have inadequate levels of vitamin D and another 8 percent are deficient in vitamin D.”

Vitamin D, is known as being the “sunshine” nutrient because when our bodies are exposed to direct sunlight vitamin D is produced and helps the body absorb calcium to give us the benefits of healthy bones and good overall health. But there are a few other benefits of Vitamin D that are not so well known such as how it helps with some processes of the body, including muscle function, the respiratory system, cardiovascular function, brain development and the immune system.

Naturally Healthy concepts suggests three things you can do to make sure you are getting enough vitamin D:

  1. Expose your bare skin to sunlight (UVB rays). The more skin that is exposed, the more vitamin D produced.
  2. Take a vitamin D supplement. This is a great way to get vitamin D if you can’t get enough sunlight, or if you’re worried about exposing your skin to the sun’s rays. The Vitamin D Council recommends vitamin D3, rather than D2, in any form.
  3. Be aware of the fact that vitamins and minerals work together in the body, so the effectiveness of the vitamin D you do get depends on the amount of those other nutrients present in the body. The most important cofactors of vitamin D are magnesium, vitamin K, zinc, boron and vitamin A.

If you think you might be at risk for a vitamin D deficiency, check out this infographic below by Healthy Concepts to determine whether or not you need to supplement with a few more mg of Vitamin D3!