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A Nutritionist Explains Why You Need Vitamin D In Summer

Ahh summer. Hopefully you’ve got your toes in the water, your butt in the sand and you’re basking in those summer rays as you read this.  But, does soaking up the summer sun cover your daily dose of vitamin D? Our nutritionist, Dabney Poorter, is weighing in on why you should still take vitamin D in summer. 


During summer months, I am often asked if we still need to take a vitamin D supplement. I want to explain why this supplement is important year round, yes even in the summer!


Every cell in your body has a receptor site for vitamin D, which makes it more like a hormone than a vitamin. A deficiency in vitamin D can lead to osteoporosis and impact your mood. Vitamin D supports your immune system and is critical for people with autoimmune disorders.


The best source of vitamin D is the sun. However, the sunlight is strong enough in only 3 to 4 months out of the year to stimulate the skin to produce enough of the vitamin D your body needs. In fact, even in these months your extremities would need to be fully exposed without sunscreen during peak hours of sunlight for 20 to 30 minutes per day. Most people do not receive enough vitamin D from sunlight as the primary source.


Here is what I recommend to my clients:


        • If your vitamin D levels were in a good range before the summer (above 40) and you’re outside most days during peak hours, you can probably take time off from the use of supplements.


        • If your vitamin D levels were low before the summer, or if you aren’t outside much without sunscreen during peak hours, you should continue your supplement use.


        • Most professionals suggest 2000 IU per day of vitamin D is the minimum amount to maintain your levels. If you’re trying to raise your levels, double the dose to 4000 IU per day for three months or until you’re test results change.


        • Always adjust your dose by following Vitamin D blood levels. Consult with your primary care physician before making any changes.