Get the facts on this important nutrient. And find out how to boost your Vitamin D intake the right way.
It’s tough to get enough bone-friendly vitamin D from sunlight this time of year—but don’t start popping pills! Read this, then talk to your healthcare provider.
Myth # 1. I don’t have osteoporosis,
so it’s no big deal.
Vitamin D does more than strengthen bones, says James Ting, MD, of Hoag Orthopedic Institute in Newport Beach, CA. “It modulates cell growth, plays a role in reducing inflammation and is important for neuromuscular and immune function,” he notes.
Myth # 2. I get enough from the sun.
Not likely, says Dr. Ting, since sun exposure is hard to quantify and our skin doesn’t absorb vitamin D as easily as we age. Healthy adults should aim to get the RDA (recommended dietary allowance) of 600-800 International Units (IU) from fortified foods like milk and cereal. Ask your doctor what dose is best for you.
Myth # 3. I sit by a window all day, so my levels are probably fine.
Actually, you won’t absorb any D if you’re behind glass. “Only UV [ultraviolet] A gets through windows, and your body needs UVB to make vitamin D,” says Dr. Ting. And don’t rely on tanning beds, which have been shown to increase melanoma risk by a staggering 75%.
Myth # 4. I should take supplements.
Not necessarily, says Dr. Ting: “Unless you have a clear-cut deficiency or specific health condition [such as osteoporosis], the RDA should be sufficient—and excessive intake can be potentially toxic.” Ask your doctor if you’re getting enough vitamin D (a simple blood test can detect a deficiency).