"One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time." -Andre Gide

Friday, February 5, 2010

One California Girl’s Ode to Sunshine: Fighting Coastal Vitamin D Deficiency

Despite the rain and foggy marine layer, we’ve managed to get a lot of sunshine in recent weekends. Ahhh! Sunlight!!! Oh, the perfect contentedness that only comes from basking in warm sunshine! I can’t live without it!

Exposing ourselves to sunlight is the best way to ensure that our bodies make enough vitamin D. UV rays trigger our skin to make vitamin D. In fact, any dietary vitamin supplement is second-rate compared to the ability of the skin to manufacture vitamin D for us. Thick cloud cover, industrial pollution, sunscreen, and shade can reduce our skin’s ability to produce it by 60%.

Vitamin D deficiency can cause emotional dreariness, muscle aches, bone pain, and vague abdominal pain, and ultimately lead to bone loss, osteoporosis, and rickets. We’ve done such a good job of avoiding the sun and protecting ourselves from skin cancer, that we run the real risk of vitamin D deficiency. If fact, 90% of the patients I’ve tested are deficient!

Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin found in cod liver oil, salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines, milk, eggs, and fortified foods. Vitamin D also comes in many capsule forms, suspended in oil. It makes sense that if taking it in a pill form, one should take it with some form of oil or fat in order to encourage the greatest amount of absorption. Vitamin D stores only last for 3 months in the body. So, we need lots of sunshiny days to fill up regularly! Just what the doctor ordered!


  1. I'm in desperate need of some Vitamin D! It's cloudy here and when it's sunny it's still freezing cold so my entire body is covered except my eyes!

  2. Good to know on the Vitamin D. I am all for sunshine. Do your patients test better in the summer months when sunshine is more plentiful?

    Bring on the sun!


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