Last weekend’s Labor Day holiday marked the unofficial end of summer…
And for a lot of people, shorter days, cooler weather and more time spent indoors means that you won’t be getting enough of the “sunshine vitamin” you need for good health.
In fact, a study from the University of California-Davis found that the average person needs to increase their vitamin D levels by as much as 500% when we enter the autumn and winter months.1
Researchers recommend increasing vitamin D levels by 500% as we say goodbye to summer.
That’s because most of our vitamin D is produced in direct response to the absorption of UVB rays from the sun. And as the days get shorter, the sun’s rays become so indirect that your body can’t absorb as many rays as it can in the summer.
And according to researchers at Karolinska University Hospital in Sweden, too little sun exposure is as dangerous as smoking.2
This study doesn’t surprise me.
I tell all my patients sunlight exposure is vital to good health because it’s the best source of vitamin D… possibly the most important nutrient we know of.
Conventional doctors still don’t recognize the importance of vitamin D, which is synthesized in your body when skin comes in contact with sunlight.
Instead, all you hear about is the danger of exposure to UV rays and how you need to use synthetic sunscreens that are full of toxic chemicals to protect yourself from skin cancer…
But there’s overwhelming evidence that increased vitamin D levels actually lower the risk of cancer. A four-year study conducted by researchers at Creighton University found that vitamin D and calcium supplementation can help prevent 17 types of cancer and lower your overall cancer risk by a whopping 77%.3
That includes all kinds of cancers, including:
And that’s not all. A recent study shows that vitamin D binds directly to your DNA4 and triggers a gene that stops inflammation.
That’s why it makes no sense to follow modern advice to avoid the sun at all costs. Of the 10 leading causes of death in the U.S., chronic inflammation contributes to at least seven of them. These include heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s and diabetes.
The trick is, you need to have enough vitamin D to activate the process. And this is where modern advice is shortchanging you.
Current guidelines suggest you should have a minimum blood serum level of 20 ng/mL. But that means getting only 600 IU a day.
And studies show that the typical adult needs 10 times that amount. At least 4,000 and 8,000 international units (IUs) of vitamin D3 per day is necessary to prevent cancer, multiple sclerosis and diabetes.6
In Addition to Soaking up the Sun, Increase Vitamin D Levels by Doing This…
I encourage my patients to get vitamin D every way they can. Going out in the sun is an important part of that process. But it’s not the only way. Here are three more ways to increase your vitamin D levels.
- Eat foods rich in vitamin D. The best way to get vitamin D from foods is to include organ meat in your diet. These include small fish like herring, sardines and anchovies. Organic milk from grass-fed cows is also an excellent source, as are egg yolks, cooked salmon and mackerel and tuna fish.
- Try some cod liver oil. Next to sunlight, this is the best source of vitamin D, providing 1,360 IU in just a single teaspoon per day.Since cod liver oil is whole-food based and easily digested, you can take it any time of day — though many people prefer a spoonful in the morning as it helps with energy regulation throughout the day.
- Take a high-quality vitamin D supplement. Your food probably won’t give you all the vitamin D you need. I recommend taking a supplement of vitamin D called cholecalciferol. It’s the same vitamin D your body produces. Just be sure to avoid the synthetic form of vitamin D2 in most multivitamins because it’s less potent and less absorbable. I recommend 2,000 IU via supplement daily, preferably in the morning but never at night.That’s because vitamin D is inversely related to melatonin, your sleep hormone, and may keep you awake. You want your vitamin D supplement to include vitamin K2, which helps activate and improve absorption of vitamin D.
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD, CNS
1. Hall LM, et al. “Vitamin D intake needed to maintain target serum 25-hydroxyvitamin d concentrations in participants with low sun exposure and dark skin pigmentation is substantially higher than current recommendations.” J Nutr. 2010;140(3): 542–550.
2. Lindqvist PG, et al. “Avoidance of sun exposure is a risk factor for all-cause mortality: Results from the Melanoma in Southern Sweden cohort.” J Intern Med. 2014;276(1):77-86.
3. Lappe JM, et al, “Vitamin D and calcium supplementation reduces cancer risk: Results of a randomized trial.” Am J Clin Nutr. 2007; 85(6):1586-1589.
4. Zhang Y, et. al. “Vitamin D inhibits monocyte/macrophage proinflammatory cytokine production by targeting MAPK phosphatase-1.”J Immunol. 2012;188(5):2127-2135.
5. Raghupathi W and Raghupathi V. “An empirical study of chronic diseases in the United States: A visual analytics approach to public health.” Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2018;15(3).
6. Garland CF, et al. “Vitamin D supplement doses and serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D in the range associated with cancer prevention.” Anticancer Res. 2011;31(2):607-611.