Q. My vitamin D level is low and my doctor said I should spend more time in the sun. He didn’t provide details and I don’t like to sit outside in direct sunlight. Is indirect sunlight (under an umbrella) just as good?
A. Most dermatologists would shudder at your doctor’s recommendation. They worry because excessive sun exposure increases the risk of skin cancer.
Indirect exposure, however, will not allow your skin to make vitamin D. It doesn’t take long to get enough vitamin D from sunlight. In the summer, 10 to 15 minutes two or three times a week often does the trick.
Some people believe that naturally produced vitamin D from sunlight is better than the synthetic vitamin D you get form a pill. That controversy remains to be resolved. SInce you do not like any direct sun exposure, oral vitamin D might be the best solution.
We are sending you our Guide to Vitamin D Deficiency so you can learn more about the dangers of inadequate vitamin D, how to analyze lab results and the optimal oral dose for good health. Anyone who would like a copy, please send $3 in check or money order with a long (no. 10) stamped (61 cents), self-addressed envelope: Graedons’ People’s Pharmacy, No. D-23, P. O. Box 52027, Durham, NC 27717-2027. It can also be downloaded for $2 from the Website: www.peoplespharmacy.com.