Maintaining a healthy Vitamin D level provides a range of health benefits including good bone health, a strong immune system and reduced inflammation. What is the best way to get Vitamin D, naturally or through supplements, and what is a healthy level? Below we answer five important questions about Vitamin D.

What is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is a compound stored in the liver and fat cells of our bodies that helps regulate the amount of calcium and phosphate in the body.

Why is Vitamin D important?

Research strongly links Vitamin D to good bone health, a strong immune system, and even reduced inflammation. Some studies suggest that maintaining a low level of Vitamin D in the body reduces the risk for certain types of cancers.

What is the recommended amount of Vitamin D in our bodies?

The recommended blood levels for Vitamin D is greater than 30 ng/mL, but some experts have recommended levels at or above 40ng/mL.

What is the best way to get Vitamin D?

The most efficient way to get Vitamin D is through direct production in our skin, a process stimulated by exposure to sunlight. Research shows that many places in the world with the longest life expectancies have some of the greatest exposure to the sun. Certain foods including fatty fish, fortified cereals, dairy products, and mushrooms grown with UV light also provide Vitamin D. Taking oral supplements may help to increase Vitamin D levels, but if supplements are your main source of Vitamin D you may not receive all the health benefits associated with the compound.

How much sun exposure do I need to maintain my Vitamin D levels?

Sufficient levels of Vitamin D can usually be obtained with moderate sun exposure. Having the arms legs and face exposed to the sun for as little as 10-20 minutes twice weekly may be sufficient for lighter skin types, but longer exposure times are required for darker skin types. The bottom line is that some limited sun exposure can actually be healthy.