We often get questions about Viatmin D and our recommendation for safe sun exposure. Unfortunately, there is no safe sun exposure. There are two main ways to get Vitamin D, one from sunlight and one from food or supplements.
Sun exposure allows UVB rays to convert cholesterol to an inactive form of Vitamin D. Once the vitamin passes through the liver and kidneys it becomes active. Because of the risk of skin cancer from sunlight exposure, no recommendations can be made about the amount of sun exposure needed to reach vitamin D requirements.
Foods that contain Vitamin D include fatty fish, beef liver, egg yolks. Foods such as milk, orange juice and cereal can be fortified with Vitamin D. Again, the amount of each food to consume to obtain adequated Vitamin D levels is hard to determine and therefore dermatologists recommend getting Vitamin D in the form of Vitamin pills.
How much Vitamin D3 to take depends on what your current blood level is and your medical history. The Vitamin D council recommends 5,000 IU of Vitamin D3 once daily. If your levels are low, your medical provider may increase the daily dosage.
In summary, practice safe sun by wearing sun protective clothing and using sunscreen daily, try to consume 5000IU of Vitamin D daily, and see your primary care physician for bloodwork to determine if you have adequate levels of Vitamin D in your blood.