The ideal way to prevent a deficiency is to get adequate sun exposure. Sometimes, this isn’t possible, along with the fact that skin cancer is caused by getting too much sun. If you can’t get 10 to 15 minutes of sun exposure (no sunscreen), then up your intake of oily fish, fish oils, and fortified milk, cereal and orange juice. Natural supplements are an excellent idea as well.
Here’s what a variety of studies have found about dealing with causes of a vitamin-D deficiency. For each cause, I’ve listed the amount of vitamin D3 you should take per day to protect yourself. (IU stands for international units.)
- Inadequate sun exposure: Take 800 to 1,000 IU.
- Over 50 years old: 800 to 1,000 IU.
- Pregnant/breastfeeding women: 1,000 to 2,000 IU.
- Obesity: 1,000 to 2,000 IU.
- Kidney disease: 1,000 IU.
- Hyperthyroidism: 800 to 1,000 IU.
- Lymphoma: 400 IU.
- Sarcoidosis, tuberculosis: 400 IU.
Here’s my bottom line: You are most likely at risk of being vitamin-D deficient. Therefore, you should get advice from your physician as to the appropriate dose of vitamin D you should be taking every day.