Everything You Need to Know About Vitamin D in the Sunshine State

By  //  February 21, 2023

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Vitamin D is an important nutrient for our bodies. It plays a critical role in the absorption of calcium, and helps maintain strong bones, teeth and muscles.

Fortunately, with its sunny climate, Florida offers plenty of opportunity to get Vitamin D from exposure to sunlight. Our bodies naturally produce Vitamin D when exposed to UVB radiation from the sun, so spending some time outdoors in the sunshine helps us get our daily dose.

Making sure we are getting enough Vitamin D is essential for good health, and the Sunshine State offers a great opportunity to do just that!  Here are some key facts about Vitamin D that will guide you in your daily quest for great health.

What is Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps maintain strong bones, teeth and muscles. It works in concert with calcium to form strong bones and prevent osteoporosis.  

In fact, without Vitamin D, the body will not be able to absorb calcium in the diet.  According to the National Institutes of Health, adults who have higher levels of Vitamin D and calcium have a lower risk of osteoporosis and muscle weakness.

How Does Vitamin D Help?

Vitamin D helps regulate cell growth, strengthens the immune system, and plays a role in reducing inflammation.  Although it is very important to regenerate old and malfunctioning cells, when your body grows cells too quickly, it can lead to cancer.

Because of this, having the right amount of Vitamin C helps reduce the risk of certain cancers and autoimmune diseases. Additionally, studies suggest that Vitamin D may help to protect against depression, asthma and diabetes.  

What Does Sunshine Have to Do with It?

Your body naturally produces Vitamin D when exposed to UVB radiation from the sun. It is recommended that you get 10 to 15 minutes of sunshine a day without sunscreen to produce adequate Vitamin D levels. 

Brevard County has plenty of parks, beaches and other outdoor areas where you can get your daily dose of Vitamin D from the sunshine.  With it’s 236 sunny days per year on average, Brevard County has all the right ingredients for making Vitamin D. If you enjoy being active outdoors, you can soak up the sunshine and build bone density at the same time by taking a bike ride on one of our local bike trails, such as the Grapefruit Bike Trails or the Brevard Zoo Linear Park, or going for a swim in the Atlantic Ocean. 

Hiking the local nature trails, like the Ulumay Sanctuary Hiking Trail, and playing your favorite outdoor sport are also great ways to get some Vitamin D in the sunshine!  

Be Careful about Relying on Sun Exposure

However, your dermatologist will caution you that skipping the sunscreen can be very detrimental to your health in a variety of ways.  Additionally, if you are fair skinned, or have limited exposure to the sun, it can be difficult to reach your daily goal. Talk to a medical professional about striking the right balance for you.

Use Your Diet

Because of this, you should consider including plenty of Vitamin D rich foods in your diet and speaking to your health care provider about taking a Vitamin D supplement.  Foods such as fish, eggs and fortified dairy products are also good sources.

Fortunately, Brevard County offers a variety of places to purchase fish and locally made dairy products.

  From the local seafood markets to farmer’s markets, there are plenty of options for getting your daily dose of Vitamin D from food. You can make a day of it, visiting Clayton’s Crab Company or MB Seafood Company with a stop at Cape Canaveral Creamery, a dairy products manufacturer in Brevard County. They offer a variety of milk, cheese and yogurt products that are all good sources of Vitamin D.

Whether you prefer to get your Vitamin D from the sun or from dietary sources, Brevard County has you covered.

Vitamin D Matters

Take your Vitamin D levels seriously. 

A lack of Vitamin D can lead to tiredness, muscle weakness and a weakened immune system in addition to the risks to your bone density. 

You can do your own Vitamin D test at home.  In addition, when you go in for your regular check ups, speak to your health care provider about getting your Vitamin D levels checked and make sure you’re getting enough sunshine or eating the right foods for optimal health. 

A healthy lifestyle starts with making sure that you are monitoring your Vitamin D levels.