Get Your Vitamin D Without Getting Burned

By now you may have been hearing the message loud and clear that vitamin D is essential for every cell and function in our body. But how do you get it without getting burned? The great news is, you have three options for getting enough vitamin D to help your body function at optimum levels:

  1. Direct sunlight
    The best way to get vitamin D is through direct sunlight on your skin for 15‑20 minutes a day, making sure you don’t burn. This means you need to expose yourself to the sun rather than cover up with long sleeves, heavy sunscreens, and slacks during those 15 minutes—which goes against what we’ve been taught for years. When you head out for your daily dose of sunshine, shorts and a tank top or bathing suit are the best way to go. Take a brisk walk around the neighborhood (that also fits in with your daily 15‑20 minutes of cardiovascular exercise, which most doctors recommend), and while you’re at it, you could be doing some breathing or meditating. By the time you’re done, you will have allowed your body to produce its own custom vitamin D and improved your cardiovascular and mental health, all in 20 minutes.

    Of course, this may not be easy for you if you’re in an office during the day, when the sun is bright and high. Or the weather may be cold or rainy. And in winter the days are shorter and direct sun is hard to come by. Also, I think it’s important to wear a hat and put sun block on your face—the most sensitive part of your skin to sun damage.I mean, who wants to age prematurely?You can then leave the rest of your body bare, but get out of the sun before you burn. If you’ve had skin cancer, it’s really important to limit your sun exposure. And if outdoor sunshine simply isn’t an option for you, you still have two other choices.

  2. Vitamin D supplements
    You can also increase your vitamin D levels through vitamin D supplements. If you decide to use a supplement, it’s very important to have your vitamin D levels tested first, since excess vitamin D can actually create health problems. If you’re letting your body make its own vitamin D through sunshine, this won’t be an issue, because it will be naturally regulated. But taking a supplement doesn’t allow your body to regulate vitamin D on its own. Studies show that nearly everyone in the United States is vitamin D deficient, so it’s important to check your levels fairly regularly. According to Dr. Mercola, the general rule is that vitamin D levels should be between 50and 70 for someone who is not dealing with a serious health issue, and as high as 70 to 100 to treat cancer and heart disease, but don’t exceed 100.

When it comes to vitamin D supplements, you have several choices. You can take pills, tablets, or drops. I prefer vitamin D drops in a fat-soluble form ( drops; I was able to raise my levels dramatically in a short time. So once again, it’s important to keep checking your levels.

A second choice is capsules. But capsules have to go through your digestive system before they can be used. Often a lot of the vitamin D gets wasted. For this reason, many people prefer vitamin D sprays. These sprays give you the full benefits of vitamin D (and especially vitamin D3) immediately, and they are designed to boost your energy and your body’s efficiency exponentially. They also tend to be less expensive than vitamin tablets or pills, and they’re definitely cheaper than a tanning bed membership!

  1. Sun beds
    I’m still having a hard time wrapping my arms around this one, and I think it should be a last resort (say, if you’re in Anchorage in January), but it seems that sun beds are okay in minimal doses. Sun beds have been greatly demonized as sources of skin cancer, but many dermatologists, doctors, and dieticians believe that they can be useful in moderation. Just as with real sun, you need not (and should not) expose yourself to more than minimal time in a sun bed. A tanning bed with UV-B rays (the ones that produce vitamin D) can be a viable alternative to natural sunlight if you can’t get natural exposure. Generally, you should limit yourself to 10 to 15 minutes (sun beds are much stronger than the natural sun). Work with a dermatologist to make sure you’re handling your sun bed exposure correctly and make sure you’re getting UV-B rays.

No matter how you decide to get your vitamin D, it’s vitally important that you start getting it immediately. If you are vitamin D deficient, your body is literally malfunctioning. This means every single cell and tissue is operating below its potential. Whether you take a walk in the park, hop into a bronzing bed, or squirt your vitamin D directly on your tongue, check this out as soon as possible.

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