• Dr. Randi Brown, ND

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:


Myth #1:

Canadians do not need to supplement Vitamin D orally/dietarily during the winter months if they are getting sunlight exposure.

Fact:

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.

Myth #2:

Vitamin D is natural and safe, so I do not need to discuss my intake with my doctor.

Fact:

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.

Myth #3:

More sunlight exposure means more Vitamin D I can “bank” for later

Fact:

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: drrandibrown@gmail.com

PMID: 17426097

PMID: 2839537

PMID: 1313547

Dr. Randi Brown | Naturopathic Physician

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Dr. Brown is a member in good standing with the British Columbia Association of Naturopathic Doctors (BCNA), the College of Naturopathic Physicians in BC (CNPBC) and the Canadian Association of Naturopathic Doctors (CAND). She has pharmaceutical prescribing authority, and also holds certificates in acupuncture, IV and injection therapy, and has advanced cardiac life support training.

As a naturopathic doctor serving the communities of southern Vancouver Island, I acknowledge that land on which I practice naturopathic medicine is within the traditional territories of the Lkwungen (Esquimalt and Songhees), Malahat, Pacheedaht, Scia'new, T'Sou-ke, and WSANEC peoples.