With 10-15 minutes of sun exposure on bare skin (without the application of sunscreen) 2-3 times a week between 10am and 3pm, you should be able to produce enough of the vitamin D that your body needs. However, during periods of low sun, such as winter, you should try increasing your intake of vitamin D rich foods, or consult with your doctor about taking a vitamin D supplement.
Below is a breakdown of the recommended dietary allowances (RDAs) guidelines for vitamin D provided by the (IOM) Institute of Medicine in the US(1):
|Infants 0-12 months||400 IU (10 mcg)|
|Children 1-18 years||600 IU (15 mcg)|
|Adults to age 70||600 IU (15 mcg)|
|Adults over 70||800 IU (20 mcg|
|Pregnant or lactating women||600 IU (15 mcg)|
*One microgram (mcg) of Vitamin D is equal to 40 IU (International Units) of Vitamin D(1)
People who do not get enough vitamin D are ultimately left with a vitamin D deficiency. This can lead to serious side effects such as: osteomalacia, which causes muscle weakness and severe bone pain. If a child suffers from vitamin D deficiency, they can often develop rickets, which makes their bones soft and eventually bends them.
Other symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include:
- Chronic muscle aches and pain
- More frequent infections or illness
- Impaired wound healing,
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Hair loss
A consultation with your healthcare provider is necessary should any of the above symptoms be experienced on an ongoing basis.
1. National Institutes of health - Office of dietary supplements. Available: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/#en1