The summer sun is beginning to wane, so get outside between 10 am-3pm for 10-15 minutes each day to make some vitamin D! Aside from bone health, Vitamin D may also be involved in immune function and muscle strength and repair.
Mid-day sunshine of 10-15 minutes, 2-3 times per week is typically sufficient for making enough vitamin D for most light-skinned individuals. Individuals with darker skin need more than 15 minutes to make enough Vitamin D. However, beyond 15 minutes, it is essential to put on sunscreen (30 SPF) and cover your skin to protect it from the harmful effects of the sun. Come late fall through early spring, Boston does not receive sufficient sun for individuals to make enough vitamin D from sun exposure (plus burrrrrrrrr!), so a diet with solid vitamin D intake (e.g., fatty fish, fortified milk and yogurt, whole eggs, fortified tofu) is needed. A supplement of vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) is also a good idea because up to 4000 IUs per day appears safe, very few foods contain vitamin D, and if you have darker skin, you don’t manufacture as much vitamin D. An alternative is to take in cod liver oil (ewwwww…), so yeah, a 10 – 15 minute walk mid-day sounds good.
If you would like to learn more about Vitamin D you can check out this resource.
Happy and healthful eating,
Donna G. Pertel, MEd, RD, LDN
We have a new nutrition challenge coming this fall that will focus on getting sufficient protein tailored to your individual needs. Interested? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.