Who doesn’t love a beautiful, sunny day? Something about sunshine just makes us happy. But did you know that sunshine can help us maintain strong bones and teeth too? Sunlight produces the important nutrient vitamin D, which helps our body absorb the calcium in food or supplements. Keep reading to learn more about the benefits of vitamin D, and how to make sure you’re getting enough vitamin D, whether through the sun, your diet or supplements.
What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is a nutrient that helps to form and maintain strong bones and teeth by aiding in the body’s absorption of calcium. And vitamin D helps support muscles too. Though we can get vitamin D from supplements, the cool thing about vitamin D is that our bodies can also produce it when our skin is exposed to sunlight. That’s why vitamin D is sometimes called the “sunshine vitamin.”
The Benefits of Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a powerhouse vitamin that has several important benefits for your body.
One of the main benefits of vitamin D is that it aids in calcium absorption, which is one of the building blocks of our bones and teeth. It also plays a role in helping to support your muscles. Plus, hard-working vitamin D also helps support immune health.
How Much Vitamin D Do You Need?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) now recommends a daily value (DV) of 20 mcg vitamin D for kids over age 4 and for all adults. But for toddlers ages 1-3, and for pregnant and breastfeeding women, the DV goes down to 15 mcg of vitamin D.1
Of course, double-check with your doctor or your pediatrician before adding any supplements to your daily routine for you or your baby.
3 Ways to Get More Vitamin D
Yes, it’s true. As we said, exposure to sunlight can help your body produce vitamin D. Many people can get at least part of their daily value of vitamin D through sunlight.
However, not just any sunlight will do! For example, skin exposed to sunshine through a window will not produce vitamin D. Cloudy days are also less effective at creating vitamin D. Many of us live in climates that are cloudy and cold for at least half the year.
Not to mention, you know you should always apply sunscreen when you’re outside — that’s a must! — but sunscreen can limit your vitamin D absorption too. Also, people with darker complexions generally absorb less vitamin D than fair-complexioned people because of the extra melanin in their skin.
Basically, yes, sunshine helps us produce vitamin D. But the reality is that very few people can get enough sun exposure to make all the vitamin D they need. That’s why children and adults may need to get vitamin D from other sources besides the sun.2
Very few foods naturally contain vitamin D. Fatty fish like salmon and tuna are the best natural sources of vitamin D. Eggs, liver, cheese and mushrooms also contain small amounts.
However, fortified foods can help you get more vitamin D in your diet. Most milk in the US is fortified with vitamin D. Which makes sense, since milk is also an excellent source of calcium and vitamin D improves calcium absorption. However, other dairy products like ice cream usually aren’t fortified with vitamin D (sorry!). Food manufacturers may also add vitamin D to some brands of breakfast cereals, orange juice and yogurt.3
When in doubt, check the nutritional label to see how much of your daily recommended vitamin D is in your food.
If you’re looking for a simple way to meet your recommended daily value of vitamin D, you may want to take a vitamin D supplement or a multivitamin with vitamin D.
Vitamin D is so important to your health that we include it in 10 vitafusion adult gummy formulas, including vitafusion Men’s Multivitamin and vitafusion Women’s Multivitamin. Vitamin D is also essential for expectant mothers, which is why this vitamin is a heavy hitter in vitafusion prenatal supplements. vitafusion PreNatal and Simply Good Prenatal both have 20 mcg (133% DV) of vitamin D per serving.
Kids may also need to take a vitamin D supplement to aid the absorption of Calcium that helps them form and maintain strong bones and teeth. L’il Critters™ has five different gummy formulas containing vitamin D, including Gummy Vites™ Complete and L’il Critters Organic Multivitamin daily supplements, as well as Calcium + Vitamin D3 gummies. Plus, L’il Critters gummies have the taste kids love.
We love sharing our insights about vitamins and health. But that doesn’t mean it should be a substitute for professional medical advice. For that, you should talk to your doctor!
1 21 CFR Part 101: FDA Final Rule: Food Labeling: Revision of the Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels.
2 Vitamin D, Fact Sheet for Health Professionals. Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health (NIH).
3 Vitamin D, Fact Sheet for Consumers. Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health (NIH).