Latest info on Vitamin D – sun anyone?

  • To [Vitamin] D or Not to D? That Is the Question  – a very interesting debate. Two leading experts in the field of vitamin D agreed to disagree at the 2013 European Congress on Endocrinology, during a lighthearted debate on the subject of whether or not everyone needs more vitamin D.

Spring sun in New England

To summarize:
Their arguments were backed up by some serious science. They both concurred that there are certain groups of people in whom it is necessary to ensure that vitamin-D levels are sufficient, such as pregnant women and those at risk for or with osteoporosis. And they also agreed on one way people can obtain more vitamin D: by going out in the sun for 30 minutes per day.

They disagreed however about who needs to take vitamin D supplements. The vitamin-D proponent, Chantal Mathieu, MD, from Catholic University, Leuven, Belgium, said the list of people who need sufficient vitamin D “is so long that it really just makes more sense to give everyone small doses.”  She suggests children below 1 year of age, 400 IU per day; in individuals older than 70 years of age, 800 IU per day; and all of the rest, all of us, 600 IU of vitamin D every day. And these doses are much lower than previously recommended 2000 IU per day.

In the opposite corner, however, Mark Cooper, MD, from University Hospital, Birmingham, United Kingdom, argued that it is really only necessary to supplement specific, at-risk groups of people.

It is also hard to get enough vitamin D from cod-liver oil, salmon and mackerel from the ocean, as most of this fish is now bred in farms, and farm-bred fish do not have a lot of vitamin D.

And if you are worried about calcium absorption – in conclusion Dr. Cooper stated:

“Those populations at risk of rickets or hypocalcemia need vitamin D. Pregnancy is a situation where, clearly, you want to make sure levels are adequate” — although he acknowledged there has recently been debate on this issue — “and having vitamin D in the treatment of osteoporosis is mandatory, because you don’t want to risk someone having even a small deficiency. But for the rest of the population, what does a little bit of suboptimal absorption of calcium matter? Who cares?

“You can get on-the-spot tests for vitamin D now. And we are doing loads of vitamin-D assays. We are making everybody anxious. We [endocrinologists] ourselves are anxious. We shouldn’t worry everybody, we should have good, balanced nutrition, but the majority of people who are otherwise healthy and asymptomatic shouldn’t go around taking supplements.”

I do like the idea of to spending 30min in the sun, outside, fresh air, nature, relax, read a book, play a sport – too many benefits to ignore such a wonderful advise in the summer. If in the risk group or in the winter months, taking supplements with lower doses may be a good idea. Even dermatologists in Australia now say that 15 to 30 minutes per day in the sun “is allowed because it gives benefits”, but Northern Hemisphere winters are not strong enough to produce adequate levels of vitamin D, regardless of how long is spent in the sun.

To your health,



  1. I appreciate your information on this topic. I have heard that Vit D plays a role in immunity. We really do not know for certain what role Vitamins play in health. I agree with the doctor who says everyone should take a supplement. At least it will not hurt you and at best will do you some good


    • Thank you Chris, it is good do have the lates info available and then make necessary alteration according to our lifestyles, locations, seasons…some people are in the sun too much and others too little. My family is very outdoorsy and so in the summer we no longer are taking D supplement, but come Fall, we will take it again, but in the smaller doses then before. Thank you for visiting! Elena


  2. Seems like all those adds for sun cancer and sun problems that kept me out of the sun were more detrimental than I thought. Because I stayed out of the sun my Vitamin D was so deficient I have been forced to take prescritption doses(24,000) to help bring my level to a healthy point. When I told my endocrinologist that I had been staying out of the sun she laughed. In Florida, where you can get natural Vitamin D? Someimes, too much confusing information can make you sick, too.


    • Isadora I absolutely agree with you! There is so much information out there and often very conflicting information, that is why I love what I do! Researching the reliable sources and pulling it all together. I was taking vit D supplements and also spending time in the sun – now I decided not to take any supplements until late Fall, and even then lower the dose.
      Thank you for stopping by! Elena


  3. Interesting, I actually heard Dr. Agus speak here at UCSB shortly thereafter, I learned through blood tests that my vit. D level was “4” should be 30-40. My doctors wanted me to take supplements possibly have D infusions. I asked for 1 month to raise the level through vegan foods and sunshine. One month later it is a healthy “29”!


    • Hi Sallyruhl! Thank you so much for visiting and for sharing! How wonderful that you were able to get better naturally and without any supplements. And living in So Cal. you sure get plenty of opportunities to get some sun 🙂 That is the way I alway prefer, first to try and deal with issues holistically, via a better diet, lifestyle changes, etc. Stay healthy, Elena


  4. I don’t know. I’m 61 and have lost many friends along the way. They were into fitness, and healthy dieting, no smoking or drinking. Me? I smoke and drink too much and take little exercise.
    I have never taken a vitamin pill in my life. Dunno what’s in ’em!
    But, I do love tea, and drink loads of that and water every day. I eat hardly any fruit but I only eat home cooked food and make my own bread. I also eat cooked tomatoes (in some shape or form) every day. I also love cheese, milk, eggs, and butter.
    My annual health check comes back positive every year, and in the upper quartile of the population for ant-oxidants (whatever they are). If it’s sunny I might go for a stroll, but I hate getting too hot. I also hate gyms.
    Make of all this what you will!


    • This sounds great! Good for you! I personally believe that the diet is secondary to primary factors of ones wellbeing and health – lifestyle, emotional health, relationships, spirituality, career, money, etc. We all know super healthy eaters, people who are obsessed with their health but are still not healthy, and those who eat junk food and could care less about healthy diet and yet are the happiest, healthiest people….
      You probably would agree, that looking at our society today, unfortunately most people are not like you, they are not healthy, not physically nor emotionally.
      Stay well 🙂 and thank you for visiting! Elena


  5. Good information. I have been looking to find what the recommended sun exposure should be to get adequate vitamin D synthesis.

    @Chris Evans, supplements are fine, but you have to make sure to get those that are water soluble (otherwise they pass through your body without being absorbed) and avoid supplements with GMO ingredients.


    • Absolutely! you are so right, indeed, if we are to pun anything into our bodies we need to make sure it is as natural natural as possible and clean and not just food, but same goes for any supplements. Thank you for a great comment Teresa!


  6. Reblogged this on Power Yoga in Brussels and commented:
    Living in Belgium makes vitamin D, or the lack of it, a big issue. This article explores what scientists suggest. My thoughts are …I need sun, every day, at least for a little while. It makes me happy to tickle my face and it inspires me to do more when I see the blue sky. So please stop raining and shine with all your beauty. If I have to be precise, my request for sun is between 12.30 until 1.30pm so I’ll enjoy at most my lunch break. Share this to make it happen and let’s wait and see 🙂


    • LOL, that is how I feel – I prefer to get my vitamins from nature and that includes vitamin D. I love the sun! I will be sending the sunny thoughts your way 🙂 Thank you Tanya!


  7. Reblogged this on Feel and Look Amazing and commented:
    Interesting debate on Vitamin D intake. I know I prefer my intake of Vitamin D to be sitting in the sun but at the moment this isn’t very likely…


    • Maja thank you for finding this info interesting and for reblogging. I also prefer to get my Vit D from the sun. Now that it is spring in New England, I get enough sun, so I stopped my supplements. Good luck with your business! Elena


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