Ask Sofia: Do I Need Vitamin D in the Summer?
“A lot of people think that they don’t need a vitamin D supplement in the summer because they are supplementing naturally with the sun, but we recommend a good-quality vitamin D3 supplement year-round,” said Clinic Sofia Physician Assistant Allie Nowak. “Most of us are deficient, and we all need vitamin D for bone health, energy and a healthy immune system.”
Nowak recommends 2,000 international units (IU) of vitamin D3 or cholecalciferol – the active form of vitamin D as opposed to vitamin D2 – every day to support overall health, reduce fatigue and combat osteoporosis. Since vitamin K2 may help your body better absorb calcium (meanwhile preventing it from being deposited in the arteries), Nowak recommends patients take a multivitamin containing 50-150 mcg of vitamin K2 daily.
Essentially, vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, enhancing bone health, and has also been linked to protection against cancer, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, depression and several autoimmune diseases. We need vitamin D year-round because of our northern climate as well as regular sunscreen use and aging.
If you are concerned about your vitamin D levels, Clinic Sofia can test to see where you are at – typically, a healthy range is 50-70 ng/ml and 40 ng/ml is the bare minimum needed for disease prevention. If you are fighting illness such as cancer or heart disease, then an optimal level ranges from 70 to 100 ng/ml.
“No matter what the season, vitamin D and a multivitamin are a must for your health. We are happy to recommend options and to provide tips for incorporating vitamin-rich foods in your diet,” Nowak added.