By Lauren Fischer 

Vitamin D is kind of a big deal. It is so important to our health that every single cell in the human body has a special seat (aka receptor site) reserved for vitamin D. Vitamin D is best known for its role in bone health, but it does so much more. According to Terry Wahls, M.D., author of “The Wahls Protocol,” vitamin D is also involved in brain health, immune cell health and the proper reading of DNA.

Low levels of vitamin D are associated with numerous health problems, including osteopenia, osteoporosis, autoimmune disease, mental health problems, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, heart disease and many forms of cancer, according to “Eat The Yolks” by Liz Wolfe, NTP.

So, how do we get enough vitamin D to protect our health?

Sunshine

Vitamin D is often referred to as the sunshine vitamin. The body produces vitamin D from cholesterol when the skin is exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet B (UVB) rays.

Too much sun exposure puts you at risk for skin cancer, but too little sun exposure puts you at risk for vitamin D deficiency. How do we get enough sun exposure to make vitamin D without risking skin cancer?

According to Wolfe, the solution is responsible sun exposure. In order to optimize vitamin D production without damaging your skin, aim for 10–20 minutes of midday sunshine exposure for as much skin as is socially acceptable. Vitamin D is not a defense for public nudity! Skin pigmentation will dictate how long you can stay in the sun. You do not want to burn.

Food

Food sources of vitamin D include egg yolks, grass-fed butter, raw milk, cold-water fish like salmon and sardines, cod liver oil, and organ meats like liver, kidneys and heart.

Supplements

Vitamin D supplementation should be initiated and monitored by your health care provider. Monitoring blood levels of vitamin D is important because vitamin D supplementation can lead to toxicity.