The summer weather is here. That means warmer temperatures, abundant sunshine, and spending more time outdoors. This can be very healthy for all of us in many ways, including more exposure to the sun. Yes, excessive exposure to UVA and UVB rays can cause some serious health problems, but it can also be very beneficial and necessary for overall health.
Regular, safe, exposure to the sun is one of the best sources of Vitamin D production for the body.
What Is a Healthy Vitamin D Level in Our Body?
The only way to know and monitor the vitamin D level in your body is through a blood test. One of the leading experts in this field, Dr. Robert Heaney from Creighton University, says you need to get 5,000-6000 IU's of Vitamin D per day from all sources (sun, food, and supplements) to maintain a healthy level in your body. An optimal Vitamin D level in your body is 60-80 ng/mL. This will help maximize the function of your immune system and has even been shown to help fight off many diseases, including cancer. Lower than 60 and you begin to increase your chances significantly for sickness and disease.
Do We Get Enough Vitamin D From The Sun?
For the vast majority of us, the answer to this question is no. First off, living in the northern part of the country, as I do, significantly limits the time frame where the sun angle is high enough to produce the vitamin D we need to be healthy. 20 minutes of midday sun exposure (between 10am-2pm) is all that is needed in a given day. To optimize absorption it is best to get that exposure on 40% of our body, mostly on the large, flat surfaces (front and back). For most of us this is not realistic because we work indoors during those times. Most individuals realistically need to use a Vitamin D supplement, to get their levels in a healthy range.
On average a 5,000 IU per day supplement is enough, but consult your doctor for regular blood tests to see what is right for you.
In Closing, optimizing your vitamin D levels can be another powerful way to improve your daily health. Getting the right amount of nutrients is one thing, but getting your body to absorb and assimilate them is ultimately more important. This is why maintaining a healthy, well functioning spine and nervous system is so vitally important. Keeping a clear nerve supply going to every organ and tissue in your body will help your body maximize the use of nutrients you provide it. Eat a healthy diet, get adequate exercise, stay regular with your adjustments... Oh yeah, and get some sun!!!