Magazine article Work & Family Life

To Get Enough Vitamin D in Winter Months

Magazine article Work & Family Life

To Get Enough Vitamin D in Winter Months

Article excerpt

Sunlight is a natural source of vitamin D, which is essential to build and maintain healthy bones and muscles. But how much vitamin D the body makes from exposure to the sun varies by season, latitude and even skin color.

The National Institute of Health recommends 10 to 15 minutes of unprotected exposure to the sun twice weekly, followed by the application of a sunscreen. That's doable if you live in a southern latitude but not in the north between the months of November and February. And making vitamin D from sunlight is more difficult for dark-skinned people and the elderly.

Vitamin D also plays a key role in allowing the body to process and absorb dietary calcium. Dr. Heike A. Bischoff-Ferrari, M.D., of University Hospital Zurich in Switzerland and the Tufts University Research Center on Aging in Massachusetts, has found that calcium alone without at least 800 IUs of vitamin D per day will not help prevent hip fractures in older people. …

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