Sunshine Vitamin for Summer?

Why promote the sunshine vitamin when it’s the brightest season of the year?


Canadians worship the summer sun.  We try to soak up as much sun as we can, but it’s never enough is it? Well, your body is telling you something – it’s not enough!  We need the sun to help us manufacture vitamin D. However, due to our short season and location – we don’t get enough direct sunlight to make the vitamin D that we need.


We need Vitamin D regularly – why?


Vitamin D helps the body use calcium to build and maintain strong bones and teeth. Vitamin D has been linked to improving symptoms of depression, particularly with the seasonal affective disorder (SAD).  People with sufficient vitamin D, produced by the body with exposure to sunlight, report improvement in energy and mood. Further studies are required, but Vitamin D may also be important for:


  • Proper brain, nervous system function
  • Cardiovascular health
  • Immune system
  • Reduction of risk for some cancers


We get vitamin D production from exposure to direct sunlight, but we know that sun exposure is bad.  Risks of sun exposure include premature aging of the skin, skin damage, and cancer. Recommendations for reducing risks of sun exposure such as avoiding the sun from 10 am to 2 pm, applying sunscreen, wearing clothing and hat, can prevent or reduce your ability to produce Vitamin D.  So can we get vitamin D another way?  


We can avoid the risks of sun exposure by getting vitamin D naturally through our diet, sources include:


  • Fatty fish (salmon, tuna, sardines)
  • Cod liver oil
  • Oysters
  • Beef liver
  • Fortified foods (check labels on milk, soy milk, orange juice, cereals)


Another option is supplementing with Vitamin D tablets or drops, ranging normally from 400 IU to 1000 IU per day.  Although vitamin D is essential, it is just as important not to take too much. Your Pharmachoice pharmacist can help you find a supplement appropriate for you and your family.

Janet Rastin
Ancaster, ON