Top 3 Vitamin D Myths and Facts
The Sunshine Vitamin
This warm, sunny, summer weather has me thinking about Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin (or should I say hormone?...). There is a lot of confusion and controversy regarding Vitamin D so here are my favorite myths and facts.
Top 3 Vitamin D Myths:
Canadians do not need to supplement Vitamin D orally/dietarily during the winter months if they are getting sunlight exposure.
Above the 35° North latitude, sunlight does not contain adequate ultraviolet B radiation for production of vitamin D through the skin. In fact, for each 10° change in latitude away from the equator, the probability of hip fracture increases by 0.6%. Those who live in Victoria BC (48.40 N), that could mean roughly a 3% increased fracture risk.
Vitamin D is natural and safe, so I do not need to discuss my intake with my doctor.
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning it has a longer (60 day) half-life, meaning it hangs around in the body for longer. Unlike other water-soluble vitamins that we can easily excrete through our urine and feces, Vitamin D levels can build-up in the body leading to toxicity. Excess vitamin D can cause confusion, changes in thirst and appetite, vomiting, muscle weakness, and kidney stones. You should always discuss your supplement intake with your doctor.
More sunlight exposure means more Vitamin D I can “bank” for later
Your skin has natural self-regulation methods that limit the amount of Vitamin D it will synthesize with persistent sun exposure. Any excess sunlight exposure will not further increase your Vitamin D levels (i.e., you cannot get Vitamin D toxicity from natural sunlight), however, you can induce photodamage to your skin leading to pigmentation, wrinkles, and potentially skin cancer.
Always speak with your doctor about any supplements you are taking or are thinking of taking. Your individual optimal intake of nutrients may be very different than a friend or family members.
The first Naturopathic Oath is “Do No Harm” – so make sure you are being safe, and sensible about your Vitamin D intake as well as being mindful about safe sun exposure!
Have more Vitamin D questions? Ask them here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Randi Brown | Naturopathic Physician