The Sunshine Vitamin
A sunrise over the Florida coast.

The Sunshine Vitamin

pathmedical Nutrition

Vitamin D, or the sunshine vitamin, can enter your body through skin exposure to the sun or through a variety of food and supplement options.

Food items that contain great amounts of Vitamin D:

  • Fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines, caviar)
  • Mushrooms
  • Fortified tofu, yogurt, and breakfast cereals
  • Fortified milk, milk substitutes, and orange juice
  • Pork Chops
  • Eggs

More than 80% of the vitamin D that enters your system originates from the sun. For medical purposes, it can also be made in a laboratory. Vitamin D absorbs calcium and promotes the development of strong and healthy bone structures. It’s used simply to boost one’s immune system but can also help conditions ranging from heart and blood issues (high blood pressure and cholesterol) to skin issues (vitiligo, scleroderma, psoriasis, actinic keratosis, and lupus vulgaris). 

The 25-hydroxy vitamin D blood test can be administered at your local blood lab to determine the most accurate measurement of vitamin D in your system. For the 25-hydroxy test, vitamin levels are categorized by nanograms/millimeters. To be considered healthy and vitamin D sufficient, your levels should stay anywhere between 20-50 ng/mL. Vitamin D deficiency occurs when the level drops below 12 ng/ML. If you are not being exposed to enough vitamin D, low blood levels of the vitamin can increase the risk of a variety of health problems.

Health problems that can arise due to vitamin D deficiency:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Asthma
  • Cancer

According to Harvard’s school of public health, lack of vitamin D exposure could be caused by a variety of reasons:

  • Lifestyle
  • Sunscreen use
  • Geographic location
  • Skin tone
  • Age
  • Body weight