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Vitamin D Quiz and Guidelines

Vitamin D Quiz and Guidelines

Vitamin D is the most common vitamin deficiency in the United States. Present and future, this deficiency is a threat to your health span. In addition to keeping bones strong, vitamin D may play a role in preventing cancers of the breast, prostate, and colon. Low levels of D have been associated with risk for these diseases.

Vitamin D transports calcium from the intestine into your bloodstream. Without it, you would absorb a mere 10 percent of the calcium you ingest, which is why we now fortify milk with D.

Misnamed long ago, “vitamin” D is actually a hormone. Like other hormones, your body can manufacture D, but only with a little help from the sun.

Your skin contains a precursor to vitamin D. When the ultraviolet-B photons in sunlight penetrate the skin, they set off a series of chemical reactions that ends with the formation of the active form of vitamin D.

Quiz: Are you getting enough vitamin D?
Tabulate your points as the accumulate.

If you are 65 and older:
1 point: For each 5 minutes you spend each week outdoors in sunshine without sunscreen and with face, arms, and hands exposed.
1 point: For each hour you spend each week outdoors in sunshine with sunscreen and with face, arms, and hands exposed.

If you are 21 to 64:
4 points: For each 5 minutes you spend each week outdoors in sunshine without sunscreen and with face, arms, and hands exposed.
4 points: For each hour you spend each week outdoors in sunshine and with sunscreen and with face, arms, and hands exposed.

All ages:
8 points: If you take daily supplements containing 1,000 vitamin D.
3 points: If you take a daily multivitamin or separate supplement containing 400 IU vitamin D.
1 point: For each glass of vitamin D-enriched milk you drink per day.

If you arrive at 8 or more points, your vitamin D is most likely adequate. But getting your vitamin D from the sun is the optimal way of receiving it.

Weekly Sun Exposure Recommendation for Vitamin D
This author’s recommendation is to get 1,000 IU of vitamin D a day from supplements and/or sun exposure. Do not exceed 1,000 IU a day from supplements.

Use these guidelines for getting your vitamin D from the sun. Weekly sun exposure should be without sunscreen, with face and arms exposed. Keep in mind that the sun isn’t strong enough to trigger vitamin D production during the winter at high latitudes.

Under 65: 3-5 minutes, 2-3 times a week.
65 and above: 5-15 minutes, 2-3 times a week.

How much vitamin D do you think you get from the sun?

Read more: Health, Diet & Nutrition

Adapted from The Longevity Quotient by Edward L. Schneider, M.D. ( Rodale, 2003).

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Annie B. Bond

Annie is a renowned expert in non-toxic and green living. She was named one of the top 20 environmental leaders by Body and Soul Magazine and "the foremost expert on green living." - Body & Soul Magazine, 2009. Learn Annie's latest eco-friendly news on, a website dedicated to healthy and green living.

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11:45PM PDT on Apr 12, 2013


1:29PM PDT on Mar 15, 2013


4:19AM PDT on Mar 14, 2013

Thanks for the article

2:48AM PST on Nov 27, 2012

thanks for the info

1:56AM PST on Nov 22, 2012

Thank you

2:30PM PST on Nov 4, 2012

No, going outdoors at 58 degrees north for most of the year does not create vitamin D in our bodies.

5:49AM PDT on Sep 28, 2012


1:08AM PDT on Aug 22, 2012

I always understood that according to my lifestyle I shouldn't have a problem with Vitamin D levels but I was very surprised to find I had to take supplements. We should all have our Vitamin D levels checked, especially as we grow older. Thank you for the information.

5:05PM PDT on Aug 21, 2012

Also must note that I take 50.000 IU's a week.

5:03PM PDT on Aug 21, 2012

Now as far as Vitamin D goes...being as I have a thyroid issue and when diagnosed, had zero vitamin D in my system (Very dangerous) but, most Dr.s will prescribe vitamin D-2 for bringing up your D levels when in fact, what thyroid patients need is Vitamin D-3 instead.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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