Vitamin D is normally produced in the skin from sun exposure. Adequate Vitamin D levels can only be attained in the summer if you get enough sun exposure without sunscreen prior to getting a sunburn.
Most people become Vitamin D deficient in winter (September-April) because of very little sun exposure and the sun is too low in the sky to produce Vitamin D.
Vitamin D deficiency increases your risk for numerous diseases. There is strong evidence that Vitamin D supplementation can help prevent (and treat*) the following diseases:
Cancer (Breast, Ovarian, Colon, Prostate, Pancreatic)
Influenza (The “Flu”)
High Blood Pressure
Death From All Causes
And Many Others
Vitamin D deficiency has been shown to be as high as 98 percent among Americans! This depends on skin color. Darker skinned ethnicities require more sun exposure and are more prone to deficiency. Seniors, the elderly, and indoor workers get very little, if any sun exposure which leads to Vitamin D deficiency.
A person is classified as Vitamin D deficient if their blood levels fall below 32ng. However, several studies have shown that blood levels need to be above 50ng to maximize protection against the list of diseases mentioned above. Therefore, many health experts are recommending safe sun exposure and supplementation to achieve blood levels between 50ng and 80ng. It is recommended for people with autoimmune diseases to obtain blood levels above 80ng.
In Chicago during the winter months, sun exposure will not produce Vitamin D. The best alternative is to take a Vitamin D3 supplement on a daily basis. Make sure your supplement is Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol), the active form.
Here are the dosages many health experts are recommending:
The ranges vary because dosages to achieve at least 50ng/dl vary among individuals. Therefore, blood testing is recommended to measure Vitamin D levels.
If you do not get adequate sun exposure in the summer, it is a good idea to take Vitamin D3 supplements year round.