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Getting Enough Vitamin D This Time of Year

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It’s winter in the Midwest and that means many patients start to plan for upcoming springtime vacations by cutting calories, hitting the gym and unfortunately, frequenting the local tanning salons. With Infinity Skin Care’s ongoing mission to educate patients about the dangers of sun exposure and tanning beds, we often get asked the same questions:

“How can I get enough vitamin D if I wear sunscreen every day?”

“Tanning beds are better for me because they provide vitamin D, right?”

“Aren’t we more likely to die of vitamin D deficiency than from skin cancer?”

While the Internet is flooded with arguments for both sides of this controversy, Dr. Schulz wants to summarize these issues for our patients:

Fact: Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. More than one million skin cancers are diagnosed annually.

Fact: One in every three Caucasians will develop skin cancer in their lifetime.

Fact: One American dies of melanoma every hour!

These facts alone should be enough to convince anyone to protect their skin from the sun, but the myths about vitamin D can be confusing. Is vitamin D important for our health? Absolutely! Vitamin D is needed for the absorption of calcium from the intestine, which aids our body in building strong bones and teeth. Many studies have also shown it boosts cardiovascular health. As a dermatologist, Dr. Schulz tells her patients to use sunscreen every day (yes, even during the winter months) and get the necessary vitamin D from food and supplements rather than risk the harmful rays of the sun. The recommended daily intake of vitamin D is somewhere between 600 IU for healthy individuals and upwards of 1,000 IU for patients on a preventative health plan, for example cardiovascular or colon cancer patients. Many over-the-counter supplements provide vitamin D in strengths that range anywhere from 50 IU to 1,000 IU. Best of all, many food sources contain vitamin D, including fish, seafood, fortified cereals, milk, and orange juice enriched with calcium and vitamin D.

After all this, the answer is simple: you definitely can get enough vitamin D, even during the cold, winter months and when you wear sunscreen every day! Just eat right, and if necessary, take an oral supplement to boost your vitamin D intake! Tanning bed use is by far more dangerous for you than the very low risk of vitamin D deficiency, so when it’s time to prep for Spring, call your local spray tan technician for a safe and beautiful glow and skip the tanning bed altogether!

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