Vitamin D is an essential nutrient and a fat-soluble vitamin. It’s typically used as the general or umbrella term for vitamins D2 and D3. Both get absorbed by the body to provide the benefits of vitamin D. Vitamin D helps the body retain and absorb calcium and phosphorous — both essential in bone building. You also need it for muscle movement and immune function. You can get vitamin D in a few different ways.
According to Nature’s Way’s integrative nurse and master herbalist Lynn Green, you can make vitamin D from sun exposure or get it in foods like milk, fortified breakfast cereals, sardines, wild-caught salmon, and fish liver oils. Since vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, it’s best absorbed when taken with a meal or a snack that includes some fat. Though there are a number of ways to obtain vitamin D via your diet, you might be surprised to find out that most Americans do not meet daily recommended intake levels for vitamin D through food — there isn’t a wide variety of foods where vitamin D is found naturally.
It also may be difficult for people with certain skin tones or lifestyles or those living in northern regions to get the recommended amount of vitamin D because of their lack of sun exposure — the darker your skin tone, the less vitamin D your body makes following sun exposure. If you're like most people, you likely work indoors, or maybe you've made it a habit to reduce your exposure to the sun with SPF and hats. We’re also exposed to less sun at different points throughout the year. This is where supplements come in! However, even a short amount of time in the sun is a good thing. “Getting even 10 minutes of sun exposure a day is good for your vitamin D production,” says Lynn.
What to know:
- Vitamin D is the umbrella term for vitamins D2 and D3
- Both are absorbed by the body to provide the benefits of vitamin D
- It helps the body retain calcium and phosphorous, important for bone health
- You can get vitamin D from the sun exposure, or eating certain foods or supplements
- It can be difficult to get enough vitamin D due to skin tone, time indoors, and geographical location
We know vitamin D is essential to wellness, so if you’re concerned that you may not be getting enough via food, sun, or supplements, make an appointment with your healthcare practitioner to get your levels checked. Once you gain more clarity about your needs, check out our vitamin D supplements — including yummy gummies — here.