Vitamin D and the Sunnier Months – Should I Continue to Supplement?

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Spring is here! The shift into longer days and more sun has begun, and you may have begun going through your closets, pulling out those short-sleeve shirts, shorts, and other lighter spring/summer gear. You may have also been inspired recently (especially this past week!) to get outside and enjoy the spring breezes, warm air, and sunshine. Remember that in these next few months, as the sun gets higher in the sky, you will have more of an opportunity to produce Vitamin D in your body, as the stronger UV rays in summer naturally trigger the body to produce more Vitamin D.

You may be wondering at this point if you need to stay on that Vitamin D supplement you so religiously took over the winter to help build your immunity and reduce colds/flu. This is a great question!

While you’d think that you can get enough sun in the summer months to make adequate amounts of Vitamin D, unfortunately that may not be the case.

A recent study of 90 healthy young women (ages 16-22 years old) living in sunny Southern California, found that over half of these women had a deficiency of Vitamin D. Almost one in four had a serious deficiency. Deficiency in this study was considered to be anything below 29 ng/ml and serious deficiency was measured at below 20ng/ml.

Interestingly enough, recent research from the holistic medical community seems to indicate that a threshold of 29ng/ml is too low to indicate deficiency, and that blood levels should be at least above 50 ng/ml to ensure great health. Who knows how many of these young women would have been considered deficient if using these parameters.

Since Vitamin D deficiency is linked to cancer, osteoporosis, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune disorders, and weight, and since young women who live in a sunny climate year-round are deficient in this important nutrient, I’d say for those of us living in a temperate climate with four seasons, it’s better to be safe than sorry. I’ll be staying on my Vitamin D supplement throughout the summer months this year. Though I do plan to get my levels tested soon, which I’d recommend everyone do.

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March 2010
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