Six fun facts about vitamin D
Vitamin D is highly beneficial for our health, but many people are not aware of the positive health impacts. You probably already know from previous posts that the sun is the best way to receive vitamin D. However, there are a lot of factors contributing to our status of vitamin D. Here are some facts you should know to help you reach your vitamin D needs.
- It’s estimated that 1 billion people are deficient in vitamin D. Some factors that contribute to low levels of vitamin D include time spent indoors, use of sunscreen, and geographic location.
- The sun’s rays that help produce vitamin D in your skin can’t penetrate glass – so you won’t be able to go sunbathing in your car or at home from your sunroom.
- Sunscreen, even one with SPF 8, can block up to 98 per cent of vitamin D intake. Lack of vitamin D absorption can lead to vitamin D deficiency. Instead small amounts of time in the sun without the use of sunscreen can be extremely beneficial to your overall health and vitamin D status.
- To receive enough vitamin D from food sources, you would have to eat two cups of raw, UV exposed portabella mushrooms, or three cups of salmon per day! Here’s some more information about natural food sources of vitamin D.
- More research is showing that vitamin D is just as, if not more, beneficial to the health of our bones as calcium.
- Individuals living in higher latitudes (Northern Europe, Canada, and parts of the United States), don’t have the same exposure to the sun’s rays. Weaker sun rays reach the higher latitudes so more time needs to be spent in the sun to help produce vitamin D. This is especially true for the months of October to March.
In Europe, health authorities officially recognize that vitamin D contributes to the normal function of the immune system  This benefit applies to both children and adults. The University of Copenhagen conducted a study where scientists found that the activation of T cells relies on vitamin D. T cells are needed as they function by teaching your body and immune system to adapt and fight infections.
This article was reviewed and updated in August 2019
- EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA) Scientific Opinion on the substantiation of a health claim related to vitamin D and contribution to the normal function of the immune system pursuant to Article 14 of Regulation (EC) No 1924/20061 https://efsa.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.2903/j.efsa.2015.4096