You have probably heard that 15 - 30 minutes in the sun will be enough to produce vitamin D for your body. But clinical reality demonstrates that our ability to produce/absorb/utilize sunlight and vitamin D is genetically variable. For example, even in northern California a large number of people tested during winter months have serum vitamin D deficiency (less than 20 ng/ml) or insufficiency (20-32 ng/ml).
"Vitamin" D Deficiency
Common factors that contribute to "D" deficiency can include the the use of sunscreens that block vitamin D production and taking a shower before laying in the sun, which washes away natural oils needed for absorption. Other factors include cloudy weather, not enough exposure due to clothing, and the time of the year. For instance, if you live north of the equator (or much above Miami in the U.S.A) and it's not June, July, or August then you are at risk for a vitamin D deficiency. Finally, being low on other minerals and vitamin C have been found to deter vitamin D absorption.
This problem increases dramatically in persons living at latitudes more distant from the equator and in persons living in all US latitudes with darker skins. In Texas there has been an increase in the number of children with African or Hispanic heritage suffering from rickets. Rickets is caused by a lack of vitamin D, calcium and/or phosphate and leads to the weakening and softness of bones. Symptoms of rickets include bone pain, skeletal deformities and bone fractures.
Testing is the only way to know how much D you have, and testing is the only way to monitor D supplementation. Getting enough vitamin D, from sunlight or supplements, is important to health and longevity but too much supplemental D or sunlight can be disease producing. Too much, too little - the only way to know how much D you have and how much sunlight or D you need is to test.
"D" Deficiency and Health Disorders
Increasing numbers of scientists are agreeing that many Americans, particularly African Americans, may be suffering from unrecognized deficiencies of vitamin D, which increase the risk of bone and muscle problems and perhaps a host of other diseases including: many forms of cancer, high blood pressure, depression, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, adrenal insufficiency, allergies and more.
Watch this short video of Dr. Kent Holtorf talking about the importance of replenishing our body with "D". A small thing like addressing a vitamin deficiency could have dramatic effects on your health!