In naturopathic medicine, no answer is appropriate to everyone. But for most people – vitamin D is something to continue all year round. Even though we get more sun in the summer many people still work daytime jobs that keep them from enjoying the sun. Some years (like this year) we have more rain than sun – especially on the weekends. We also live at a latitude that doesn’t enable 100% sun exposure absorption, even when we are spending our day outside. Many of us use sunscreen and/or cover-up in the sun – this will limit our absorption as well.
Think of the summer as a time to build your vitamin D stores. The extra sun you get, coupled with your supplement is like money in the bank when our winter comes.
How do you know how much to take? We will often answer that in an appointment but to know for sure you should get your D tested. There are 2 times of year that would be great to look at – March and September. March will be the lowest your D levels will get for the year. September should be the highest. NSHA will only test your D every 12 months so usually it would be one or the other. It is possible to take vitamin D and still have low levels but you don’t want to take too much either. If you don’t have a doctor or can’t get your levels tested through NSHA then you can test privately. The test is approximately $45.
Why is vitamin D so important? Vitamin D plays a part in almost everything your body does. Energy, immunity, bone density, and health promotion are the top things that come to mind. If you are low in vitamin D it can help improve skin conditions, autoimmune concerns, hair loss, and thyroid. If vitamin D levels are good then taking more won’t necessarily improve a concern. The danger is when levels are too low.
How should I take vitamin D? Vitamin D is fat soluble. If you take it in a capsule you need to take it with food. If you take it in liquid form it is in a base of oil so the fat component is already there so you don’t need to take it with food. When taken at night it could interrupt sleep – try to take it in the morning or during the day if possible. It can be taken daily or weekly – check with your healthcare provider before you change up the timing.