Ah, summer. The sun is shining, you’re enjoying plenty of time outdoors, and your plate is bursting with fresh summer produce. But is that enough to keep your vitamin D levels up and your immune system healthy?
Despite our increased exposure to sunlight in summer, most of us still don’t get the vitamin D we need through the sun. Unfortunately, this means that over 40% of US residents deficient in this essential vitamin – and are at risk for developing some serious health conditions in the future.
At AlignLife, we want to help more people like you get the vitamin D you need to thrive. Here, we’ll cover how to get adequate vitamin D levels safely, the pitfalls of relying on sunshine alone, and what high-quality vitamin D supplements to take to prevent deficiencies and keep your immune system strong.
Getting Vitamin D from the Sun in Summer
Vitamin D is a unique vitamin. Rather than getting it from our food like other vitamins, vitamin D is mainly produced in your skin when exposed to sunlight.
But, relying on the summer sun to get your daily dose of vitamin D can be tricky. Even in summer, most of us spend the majority of the day inside. If you’re hoping to get some sun by sitting near a window, know that the rays that help us produce vitamin D do not penetrate windows. This is great for protecting the skin, not so good for creating vitamin D.
When we do go outside, we tend to use sunscreen to protect our skin from the sun’s harmful rays. Unfortunately, that helpful sunscreen also blocks vitamin D production in the skin.
To safely boost your vitamin D from the sun in summer, take a 5-10 minute break outside without sunscreen. This will give your body a chance to make vitamin D without spending too much time under the sun without proper protection.
Tips to get a healthy dose of sunshine in summer
1) Go outside from 11 am – 2 pm.
Midday is when the sun’s UVB rays are the strongest. This helps you boost your vitamin D levels quickly, without spending too much time in the sun.
2) Avoid getting sun in the afternoon.
Studies show that afternoon sun exposure is more likely to cause issues like skin cancer and aging.
3) Don’t cover up your skin fully.
Expose about ⅓ of your skin to get the optimal levels of vitamin D production while staying safe (and covered!). You can strike this ratio wearing a tank top and shorts.
4) Keep sunlight exposure brief.
Don’t stay outside for longer than 30 minutes without sunscreen. Shorten this if you have fair skin.
5) Hydrate when you get inside.
No matter how mild or hot it is outside, a cool glass of water will help your body synthesize vitamins better and keep your skin healthy.
6) Use natural or mineral-based sunblock if you’re outside more.
Commercial sunblocks are loaded with chemicals that your skin and body absorb. Thankfully, more natural options are becoming widely available in the form of mineral-based sunblocks. These natural sunscreens, also called “physical sunscreens” typically use formulas that contact active ingredients from plants like aloe and zinc oxide. They help your body coat your skin and reflect the UV rays off your dermal layers.
Getting Vitamin D from Food in Summer
Along with brief periods in the sun, certain foods can help you boost your vitamin D and support your immune system year-round. Unfortunately, the Standard American Diet is relatively low in these vitamin D-rich foods, which is one reason why so many people struggle with vitamin D deficiency.
Below, you’ll find the few foods that do offer vitamin D. While most of these are still relatively low in this nutrient, they do give you a helpful boost when combined with sun and supplements.
Foods with High Vitamin D Content:
- Fatty fish like salmon, herring, sardines, and tuna
- Egg yolks
- Cod liver oil
- Fortified foods that contain added vitamin D (like certain cereals or soy milk)
Bottom Line: Yes, You Still Need Vitamin D Supplements in the Summer
Sunshine and certain foods can help you boost your vitamin D, but they don’t offer significant long-term solutions. Summer or winter, supplements remain the most effective and reliable way for most people to get the vitamin D they need to stay healthy. With a trusted vitamin D supplement, you can enjoy every season knowing you are supporting your immune system with the nutrients it needs to function optimally.
So, what vitamin D supplement should you choose? Here are two of the top-recommended vitamin D supplements by our AlignLife chiropractors:
Aceva Active D
Active D is a liquid form of vitamin D that’s easy to use and fast to absorb. In a single drop, you’ll get enough vitamin D to keep your immune system fighting each day. Plus, unlike other vitamin D supplements, Active D also contains vitamin K2 to prevent any calcium deposits in soft tissues.
Aceva Active D-Plus
Active D Plus is the best choice for those who want more than just a vitamin D supplement. This blend includes six other essential vitamins to support a strong immune system, cardiovascular system, and neuromuscular system: Vitamin A, E, K2, Magnesium, and Zinc.
How Much Vitamin D Do You Need?
The most common recommended daily value of vitamin D is 600-800 IU. If you live in a place that gets less sun, has shorter summers, you spend most of your time inside, or you have certain health conditions, your intake may need to increase. Ask your AlignLife chiropractor to help you determine the correct dose of vitamin D for you.
Stay Healthy This Summer with Vitamin D and AlignLife
At AlignLife, we help you feel your best so you can get the most out of your summer. Sometimes that means taking a few preventive measures – like supplementing with essential vitamins like vitamin D. Making the right health choices now will set you up for a stronger, healthier fall and winter.
Ready for your healthiest summer yet? Book a visit with your local AlignLife chiropractor to start the path to whole-body wellness today!