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We evolved to make all the vitamin D we need from the sun, but most of us are no longer running around naked in equatorial Africa. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that many of us modern humans may be deficient in vitamin D, also known as the “sunshine vitamin,” if we live, for example, in Northern climes covered up over the winter months.

Does this one vitamin really matter that much, though?

Yes, if you want to live longer.

Vitamin D, which is made mostly by animals, including ourselves, when we’re exposed to sunlight, may help us enjoy a longer life based on randomized, controlled studies. As if that weren’t enough reason to pay attention to vitamin D, it’s also been shown to improve pain from menstrual periods and help prevent respiratory infections.

If you don’t get adequate sun exposure, I recommend daily supplementation with 2,000 IU of vitamin D, ideally with the largest meal of the day.

Mushrooms, interestingly, also make vitamin D when exposed to sunlight radiation, but most mushrooms found in the produce section of our local markets don’t have any vitamin D because they’re grown in the dark. I also don’t recommend tanning beds because they can be both ineffective and dangerous. (The lamps emit mostly UVA, which increases melanoma skin cancer risk while producing less vitamin D.)

Image Credit: NatchaS / Thinkstock. This image has been modified.

All Videos for Vitamin D Supplements

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