The Big Mistake You're Probably Making With Vitamin D

Are you getting enough vitamin D? According to WebMD, you're at risk for a vitamin D deficiency if you don't get sun exposure on your skin, don't eat enough foods high in vitamin D, or don't take a vitamin D supplement. This vitamin helps your body use calcium and is essential for strong, healthy bones. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to rickets, a bone disease that can cause bone deformities.

Vitamin D is essential for your health as it can reduce depression, boost weight loss, and reduce the risk of heart disease, flu, and multiple sclerosis (via Healthline). You can get vitamin D through direct exposure to the sun, which is why it's commonly known as the sunshine vitamin. However, sun exposure without sunscreen and clothing protection can increase your risk of skin cancer, so it can be challenging to get enough vitamin D through sun exposure without the risk. You can also get vitamin D in foods like fish, egg yolks, and some fortified food products. 

Many people make one mistake when it comes to getting enough vitamin D. Do you?

Vitamin D mistake

The Cleveland Clinic recommends 15 to 20 minutes of direct sunlight three times a week for vitamin D, in addition to foods high in vitamin D and a supplement. You might not be getting enough vitamin D if you're not doing these three things to get it. According to the National Institutes of Health, adults ages 19 to 70 need 600 IUs of vitamin D a day, and people over age 70 need 800 IUs.

Do you live in a sunny climate and don't take a vitamin D supplement because you think you get enough from the sun? That's the biggest mistake people make with vitamin D. One physician, Dr. Emhof, notes he lives in Florida, and 90% of his patients are vitamin D deficient. They likely think they're getting enough from sunlight but do not. The only way to know if you're getting enough and how much to take is by getting a blood test. He says everyone is different, and some people need 5,000 IUs of vitamin D per day.

Signs you're low on vitamin D are bone pain, fatigue, depression or other mood changes, muscle cramps, muscle weakness, and muscle aches. See your doctor for a vitamin D blood test to determine your levels and get a recommendation for supplement dosage (Cleveland Clinic).