Vitamin D is necessary for health. It has a vital role in maintaining bone health. Epidemiological studies have linked vitamin D deficiency to an increased occurrence of cancer, diabetes, autoimmune disorders and heart disease.
Light-skinned people exposed to five to ten minutes of sunlight on the arms and legs three times per week is sufficient to create the vitamin D the body needs. We manufacture vitamin D naturally. However, high levels of melanin (the pigment that makes skin dark) can mean that darker-skinned people require five to ten times longer exposure to the sun to synthesize adequate amounts of vitamin D.
As an alternative to sun exposure, eating foods rich in vitamin D (fatty fish--salmon and tuna, fortified milk and juices and cereals) can help, and your physician can do a blood test to measure your vitamin D levels and possibly recommend vitamin D supplements. The Institute of Medicine recommends 600IU of vitamin D a day for people up to age 70, and 800IU for those over 70.
Robert G. Tupac, DDS, FACP, Inc., Diplomate, American Board of Prosthodontics (661) 325-1275 | www.drtupac.com 5060 California Ave., #170, Bakersfield, CA 93309