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The Benefits of Vitamin D and How to Avoid Vitamin D Deficiency

Updated on October 21, 2015
Deborah-Diane profile image

Deborah is the author of the Baby-Boomer-Retirement. com blog and writes about topics of importance to retirees and Baby Boomers.

A Little Time in the Sun can be Healthy - As Long As You Limit it To a Few Minutes a Day. You Never Want a Sunburn!

Just spending a few minutes each day exposing some of your skin to bright sunlight may produce all the Vitamin D you need.
Just spending a few minutes each day exposing some of your skin to bright sunlight may produce all the Vitamin D you need. | Source

Vitamin D Benefits

Vitamin D is one of the most important vitamins for good health and it is also one of the cheapest and easiest of our body's needs to meet. Vitamin D has long been known to be important for your teeth and bones. More recent researchers have also discovered that it might protect you from some types of cancer and some forms of heart disease. It even appears to improve your immune system! In fact, Vitamin D appears to be important for the health of every system in your body.

Nearly every time I pick up a health magazine to read a list of ways we can improve our health, the list includes getting enough Vitamin D, either from sunlight or from taking an over-the-counter supplement. In some cases when people have serious illnesses, strong doses of Vitamin D are even prescribed. It cannot be overstressed that everyone needs to make sure they are getting an adequate amout of Vitamin D on a daily basis. For example, my husband has been diagnosed with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) and he now takes a prescription form of Vitamin D at the recommendation of his physician.

Lack of Vitamin D in the United States

Studies have found that in some parts of our country 70% of children do not have enough Vitamin D in their bodies. Vitamin D is often referred to as the sunshine vitamin, because our bodies can make it when our skin is exposed to natural sunlight. Since this is so, why is there such a lack of Vitamin D among people, particularly children, in our country?

Many of us spend long hours indoors at work or school during the day. In the winter, especially in the northern parts of the United States, we are often covered by clothing and scarves, leaving very little skin exposed. In addition, the winter sun in northern states is weak and not a good source of Vitamin D production. Consequently, many children may not have any natural exposure to the sun for the entire winter. When this happens year after year, it can be devastating for their health.

Even in the southern states, when people do go outside their skin is often covered by sun screen, which also reduces Vitamin D production. As a result, you probably are not getting enough Vitamin D from the sun alone, even if you live in a sunny climate. What can you do to increase the amount of Vitamin D in your body?

Vitamin D in Gummies for Those You Don't Like to Swallow Pills

Vitafusion Vitamin D3 Gummy Vitamins, Assorted Flavors, 150 Count (Packaging & Flavors May Vary)
Vitafusion Vitamin D3 Gummy Vitamins, Assorted Flavors, 150 Count (Packaging & Flavors May Vary)

This choice is ideal for people who do not like to swallow pills. Be careful with any kind of gummy vitamins, though. You do not want children taking them, thinking they are candy.


How to Get Enough Vitamin D

The first and best way to increase the amount of Vitamin D in your body is completely free. Simply spend about 20 minutes a day outdoors when the sun is at its brightest. Expose your skin during this time without sunscreen, at least on your face and forearms! Your body is able to manufacture its own Vitamin D with just a little help from natural sunshine! If you do this daily, you may be able to get all the Vitamin D you need. Unfortunately, one reason for the current deficiencies in children is because they no longer spend as much time playing outside in the sun as they did 40 years ago! Therefore, if you are a parent, make sure that you send your children outside to play in the sunshine for a little while every afternoon. Better yet, go outside with them and get your Vitamin D, too!

However, as mentioned above, sunshine may not be the solution for everyone. Some people live in Northern climates, where the sun may not be strong enough, especially in the winter. It may also be too cold in the winter to expose your skin for very long. In addition, you may have had skin cancer or take a medication which requires you to use sun screen all the time. What other alternatives do you have?

Foods with Vitamin D

In addition to the sun, It is also possible to get enough Vitamin D from food sources. Fish is one particularly good source, especially salmon, tuna and sardines. Fortified milk and other dairy products, including butter, are also good sources of Vitamin D. So are eggs. Milk and many cereals are supplemented with extra this nutrient. Cod Liver Oil has been used for generations to satisfy the need for this vitamin. You can even purchase cod liver oil in capsule form, if you don’t like the taste.

If you aren't spending enough time in the sun, and you're not sure if you are consuming enough milk, fish, fish oil, butter and eggs, it is often a good idea to supplement your diet. Nearly all multiple vitamins contain Vitamin D, and you can also buy it separately. However you decide to get your Vitamin D, everyone should make sure that they have an adequate amount every day if they want to maintain maximum health!

Order a One Year Supply of Vitamin D for a Low Price

Vita Optimum Vitamin D3 5000 IU - In Certified Organic Olive Oil (360 minigels) GMO-Free & Made in USA
Vita Optimum Vitamin D3 5000 IU - In Certified Organic Olive Oil (360 minigels) GMO-Free & Made in USA

If you live in a Northern State or spend a lot of time indoors, you will probably need to take a Vitamin D supplement. You can purchase it at your local drugstore or order it online.


Share Your Opinion!

What do you think is the best way for your family to get enough Vitamin D?

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    • Deborah-Diane profile image

      Deborah-Diane 2 years ago from Orange County, California

      The more we learn about the importance of Vitamin D, the more all of us are starting to realize that we need to be sure to get enough ... without overdoing the sun exposure!

    • ezzly profile image

      ezzly 2 years ago

      Wow I never knew Vitamin D could protect you from certain types of cancers! I knew there was a reason to get as much sun as possible ! Thanks for keeping us informed :)

    • Deborah-Diane profile image

      Deborah-Diane 3 years ago from Orange County, California

      Yes, it is amazing how many people do not get enough Vitamin D ... which can cause serious problems for their health. Its so easy to make sure you get enough of this essential nutrient.

    • ologsinquito profile image

      ologsinquito 3 years ago from USA

      This is a very important nutrient, and so many conditions people suffer from could probably be improved if they made sure they had sufficient levels of Vitamin D.

    • Deborah-Diane profile image

      Deborah-Diane 4 years ago from Orange County, California

      Winter is a bad time for people with Vitamin D deficiency, since most people spend very little time out in the sun. Thanks for your comments, Au fait.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

      Bone pain and muscle weakness can be symptoms a person has a vitamin D deficiency. Not enough vitamin D can cause or raise the risks of death from cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment in older adults, and even severe asthma in children, or cancer in people generally. This is a great article for bring the importance of getting enough Vitamin D to people's attention.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

      Sharing this important information again since this has become such a widespread problem!

    • Deborah-Diane profile image

      Deborah-Diane 4 years ago from Orange County, California

      Thank you for promoting this article about Vitamin D deficiency on your health board. I was shocked to discover how many Americans are Vitamin D deficient and I wanted to make more people aware of this serious health problem.

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 4 years ago from America

      Pinning this to my health board.

    • Deborah-Diane profile image

      Deborah-Diane 4 years ago from Orange County, California

      Getting our vitamins naturally is always the best way. However, it is obvious that this is not working in America since so many children are Vitamin D deficient. We are fortunate that supplements are now available. Unfortunately, far too few people take them!

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

      Had mine today!

      The research on this from the past 50 years to now is interesting to study. It really makes one wonder…

      Thanks for highlighting the benefits of Vitamin D and how to avoid deficiency.

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

      I'm surprised that so many Americans have Vitamin D deficiencies! This is very informative--I'd much rather adjust my diet and get it the natural way if possible, or get some sun exposure although that carries its own risks. : ) Thank you!

    • Deborah-Diane profile image

      Deborah-Diane 4 years ago from Orange County, California

      I'm so happy that they discovered that you had low Vitamin D a few years ago so that you could be treated for it. I believe that most Americans should be on daily Vitamin D supplements since so few of us get enough of the vitamin naturally!

    • nifwlseirff profile image

      Kymberly Fergusson 4 years ago from Villingen Schwenningen, Germany

      They discovered my almost-zero levels a few years ago, and I'm still on daily supplements. If I stop, the level slowly decreases again, probably due to my fibromyalgia.

      Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to chronic pain in multiple studies, although doctors don't know yet which way around the relationship is.

    • Deborah-Diane profile image

      Deborah-Diane 4 years ago from Orange County, California

      I take Vitamin D every day, and I live in Southern California where it is easy to get a little sunshine almost every day. This vitamin is so important to our health!

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 4 years ago from America

      Interesting hub. I take vitamin D everyday.

    • Deborah-Diane profile image

      Deborah-Diane 4 years ago from Orange County, California

      I agree with you that it is shocking how many children in the United States are deficient in Vitamin D ... especially considering how easy it is to get. Parents need to get their kids outside for at least 1/2 an hour a day to play, and they need to give their child a multiple vitamin. These solutions are so simple, but they are regularly ignored.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

      70% of our children in the U.S. are Vitamin D deficient and that's a lot. With Vitamin D so easily available it does seem strange the deficiency rate is so high, but I know lots of children don't play outside like children used to do. More interested in TV and computers, and in many places it just isn't safe to leave children outside to play anymore.

      Very informative and helpful hub!

    • free-l-ramswriter profile image

      free-l-ramswriter 6 years ago

      I love the idea of spending time outdoor. Great Hub

    • Shahe Asekeen profile image

      Md Shahe Asekeen 6 years ago from Bangladesh

      nice one.This should help someone get rid of the deficiency!

    • Jlava73 profile image

      Jennifer Vasconcelos 6 years ago from Cyberspace and My Own World

      Great info! My favorite way to get my daily dose of Vitamin D is through yoplait yogurt. They claim it has 50% of the RDA of vitamin D. Two of these yummy treats per day meet the requirement - if it isn't just slick marketing.

    • carcro profile image

      Paul Cronin 6 years ago from Winnipeg

      You're so right, vitamin D is extremely important especially in the colder climates where you tend to hibernate 6 months of the year. Good info here, thanks for sharing!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      It is not hard to get enough Vitamin D living here in Houston. Just the morning walk, a little yard work and everyday activities exposes one to enough sun generally unless totally housebound for some reason. That and the insurance of a multi-vitamin and we feel pretty well covered on that account. Good hub!

    • Deborah-Diane profile image

      Deborah-Diane 6 years ago from Orange County, California

      Thanks to all of you who have commented about the importance of Vitamin D in your life! I appreciate you for sharing your experiences.

    • wiseoldaccountant profile image

      wiseoldaccountant 6 years ago from Buffalo and Orchard Park NY

      Good article!

      I live in Buffalo; the Doctors at Roswell Park, our Cancer hospital strongly recommend D. We don't get enough sunlight here.

      Any son has seizures and takes dialantin which can deplete his bones. D can counter act that.

    • profile image

      SmartyPens 6 years ago

      This is an excellent article. The benefits of getting enough sun to improve health are slowly becoming more widely known. Our society sometimes encourages extremes -- either over-tanning or avoiding the sun altogether. Sun in moderation is perfect.

    • JT Walters profile image

      JT Walters 6 years ago from Florida

      This is very important especially for children.


    • ktrapp profile image

      Kristin Trapp 6 years ago from Illinois

      My husband should be a poster-boy for vitamin D. He has taken it daily for at least 4 years and has not had a cold or flu in that time. I take it quite often myself, though not as religiously as my husband, and have experienced benefits as well.

      Interestingly, I have found that when my daughter is getting sick, giving her vitamin D seems to lessen the length of the virus and make it less severe. With cold and flu season coming I have got to get her back in the habit of taking it.

      Thanks for your informative hub!

    • dipsmi profile image

      dipsmi 6 years ago from Plymouth, Minnisota

      good research and great information!

    • Lyn.Stewart profile image

      Lyn.Stewart 6 years ago from Auckland, New Zealand

      Thanks for writing this ...voted up useful and interesting. I hope more people find this hub

    • profile image

      SusieQ42 6 years ago

      Hi Deborah, I love this hub. I'm a fan of Vitamin and nutrition hubs and herbs fascinate me. Thanks for the info!

    • Movie Master profile image

      Movie Master 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hello DD, that's amazing 70 percent of children don't have enough vitamin D, I don't think they play outdoors like they use to.

      Many thanks for the information and tips on increasing our intake, voting up.