5 Myths and Truths About Vitamin D

General Lifestyle South Florida Wellness

5 Myths and Truths About Vitamin D

vitamin d and the sun five myths and truths

Ah, vitamin D – the sunshine vitamin. Of course, we get plenty of sunshine here in Florida, but still, many of us don’t get enough of this essential vitamin (okay, technically, it’s a hormone).

Sunscreen is partly to blame, but really, the problem is that most of us just aren’t spending enough time outside (beach bunnies and outdoor adventurers excluded). To top it off, there’s so much confusion about sunscreen use and ways to boost your vitamin D.

Let’s clear the air and separate fact from fiction with these 5 myths and truths About vitamin D.

5 Myths and Truths About Vitamin D

5 myths and truths about vitamin d

Before we get into the five myths and truths about vitamin D, you may be wondering why I’m even writing about the subject.

Maybe eight or ten years back, my OBGYN recommended I take it along with Calcium, as I showed signs of osteopenia in my hips. There was nothing to be alarmed about, but she suggested supplementing my diet with both vitamin D and calcium, and of course, I took her advice. Eight years later, nothing has changed, everything is status quo, and I’m fine. In an article for WebMD, Melinda Ratini, DO, MS, explains osteopenia:

“Think of it as a midpoint between having healthy bones and having osteoporosis.

Osteopenia is when your bones are weaker than normal but not so far gone that they break easily, which is the hallmark of osteoporosis.”

So, years later, again, I’m fine, and I’m guessing it’s thanks to my Vitamin D and Calcium.

Now let’s get to those 5 myths and truths about vitamin D!

1. Vitamin D Boosts Your Immune System – True

5 myths and truths about vitamin d

According to the University of Maryland Medical, vitamin D can help boost your immune function and reduce your risk of flu and colds.

2. Sunscreen Blocks Vitamin D – Myth (Sort of)

5 myths and truths about vitamin d

It’s true that sunscreen blocks UVB rays, so theoretically, it should block vitamin D production, too. But most people don’t put on enough sunscreen to block all UVB rays. Some of us don’t put it on regularly enough for it to really make a difference.

In other words, don’t use vitamin D as an excuse not to put on sunscreen. It’s so important for preventing burns and reducing your risk of skin cancer.

3. Sun Exposure is the Best Way to Get Vitamin D – True

vitamin d from the sun

The sun really is the best source of vitamin D, and you don’t need to spend the whole day in the sun to get the vitamin D you need.

  • 15 minutes for light-skinned individuals
  • A few hours for individuals with dark skin

It isn’t easy to get vitamin D from food. The right supplements can help. But there’s really no replacement for good old-fashioned sunshine.

But rememeber, you have to be smart and careful about your exposure.

4. Vitamin D Can Make You Happy – True

vitamin d makes us happy

Does being out in the sun put you in a good mood? That’s no coincidence. Vitamin D helps with serotonin production (you know – that feel-good brain chemical?).

Studies have found that vitamin D supplements can improve your mood.

So, if you’re feeling a little low, some vitamin D may be just what the doctor ordered.

5. If You Live in a Sunny Place, You Probably Get Enough Vitamin D – Myth

sunny places to live

Living in a sunny climate makes it easier to get vitamin D, but there’s no guarantee that you are getting what you need. Many of us spend more of our time indoors, and sunscreen can make getting enough sun exposure to make vitamin D even harder.

That doesn’t mean that you should give up on your sunscreen (please don’t!), but you may want to make it a priority to get outside more often. Or get your D levels checked by your doctor. But, again, supplements can help, and your doctor may be able to recommend one.

The Bottom Line

vitamin d is essential
Get Your Vitamin D Daily

Vitamin D plays such an important role in our health, so it’s important to ensure that you’re getting enough of it. Smart, strategic sun exposure can help, or you can try supplements if your levels are low.

And don’t forget – sunscreen is still important no matter where you live.

And speaking of sunscreens, I’m no expert, and there are so many from which to choose these days. My personal favorites, Neutrogena Age Shield Face Lotion Sunscreen with Broad Spectrum SPF 110 for my face (it’s moisturizing) and Neutrogena Beach Defense Spray Sunscreen with Broad Spectrum SPF 70 Fast Absorbing Sunscreen Body Spray Mist for my body. Gary, my hubby, likes Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen Lotion.

SPF – The Higher, the Better?

I’m not even going to address the question, do sunscreens with higher SPF ratings guarantee better sun protection? For more on the topic, you can google and find plenty of info. The short answer (Wait – didn’t I say I wasn’t going to talk about this? Hmmm….) is not really. Even so, I’m a sucker for more SPF, and I always seem to gravitate towards higher SPFs.

Also, this isn’t a post about sunscreen, so let’s end this with a reminder to make sure you’re getting enough vitamin D. I will share that I use The Vitamin Shoppe Liquid Vitamin D3 as my supplement. However, I know there are several excellent brands available just about everywhere vitamins and supplements are sold.

vitamin d in the foods we eat

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  • Reply
    jodie filogomo
    August 29, 2021 at 6:57 pm

    I’ve been learning so much about Vitamin D lately too Gwen. I thought it was interesting how the darker the skin, the harder it is to uptake it (that’s not my issue, but still interesting).
    I found a sunscreen that allows the Vit D to get in also that I’ve been using this summer. Now knowing how important Vit D is, I’ll probably buy it every year.

    • Reply
      Gwen Gottlieb
      August 30, 2021 at 5:05 pm

      Hi Jodie! That sunscreen sounds fabulous! Hope you’ll share the name – you can send me a link! Thanks for reading! xoxo

  • Reply
    Hilda Smith
    August 30, 2021 at 3:30 pm

    I am a huge believer in Vitamin D and have been for years. Great post Gwen. Agree with you on every point.

    • Reply
      Gwen Gottlieb
      August 30, 2021 at 5:03 pm

      Thanks so much for taking the time to read my post, Hilda. Much appreciated! xo

  • Reply
    Nancy Weiss
    August 31, 2021 at 7:39 am

    Great info, Im happy to say I have all the boxes checked! Its very important to understand the benefits of Vitamin D and not be afraid of stepping out in the sunshine.

    • Reply
      Gwen Gottlieb
      September 4, 2021 at 9:49 am

      Good for you, Nancy! It really is so important!

  • Reply
    Jessica A Jannenga
    August 31, 2021 at 10:01 am

    Enjoy reading! I understand how important it is and it really does affect the mood. I typically am in a better mood with sunshine!
    ( one reason we moved from Pittsburgh PA to NC). My mom has osteopenia, so I am careful to get enough and watchful as well.
    Have a great week Gwen!
    jess xx

    • Reply
      Gwen Gottlieb
      September 4, 2021 at 9:51 am

      Thanks for reading, Jess! It sure does affect mood. Have a great week! xo

  • Reply
    August 31, 2021 at 10:59 am

    I was surprised to find out that my Vitamin D was low. I take three little gold balls now every morning.

    I need to start the calcium supp. too.

    Thanks for the reminder!! 🙂

    Wendy The Inspired Eater

  • Reply
    Gwen Gottlieb
    September 4, 2021 at 9:50 am

    Hi Wendy! Yes, def add that calcium! Thanks for reading! xo

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