Softball and baseball games, fishing, running, gardening, golfing – during the summer, these outdoor activities can provide relaxation, entertainment, and a very important vitamin – vitamin D!
Vitamin D is a unique vitamin, because it can be created in the body. When the sun hits the skin, certain compounds in the skin are converted to vitamin D. Vitamin D helps absorb calcium, and together with calcium, vitamin D helps build bones and keep them strong and healthy.
Adequate levels of vitamin D can be obtained from sunlight, food sources, or supplements.
- Sensible sun exposure on the face, arms, and hands 2 to 3 times a week between 10am and 3pm for 10 to 15 minutes provides adequate amounts of vitamin D.
- Fatty fish, eggs, liver, cheese, milk, yogurt, orange juice, and cereals fortified with vitamin D are good food sources of vitamin D.
- Vitamin D in supplements can be found in two forms: vitamin D2 or vitamin D3. Based on recent research, vitamin D3 produces a greater increase in the body’s vitamin D stores – look for supplements that contain vitamin D3.
Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include bone pain, muscle weakness, increased blood pressure, and depression. Most adults should get about 600 IUs (15 mcg/day) of vitamin D daily, according to the NIH. Although most people get enough vitamin D, it is still important to consider your sunlight exposure, food intake, and if needed, supplement intake. If concerned, discuss your vitamin D levels with your doctor. Otherwise, head outdoors to enjoy the warm weather and get your healthy dose of the sunshine vitamin!