Q. Does sunscreen interfere with vitamin D levels? My doctor diagnosed me as seriously deficient in vitamin D even though I take calcium with D every day. I wear sunscreen whenever I go outside and wonder whether that could be a factor.
A. Sunscreen hinders the skin’s ability to help create vitamin D. The amount you get from your supplement (typically 400 IU) is probably not adequate to overcome a deficiency. You will either need to spend 10 to 15 minutes in the sun without sunscreen a few times a week or take a vitamin D supplement that provides a higher dose (closer to 2,000 IU of vitamin D3).
One reader reported the following: “I moved from the sunny Mediterranean region to overcast Washington state. I gradually started to fall apart with body aches and pains and depression. Since starting 2,000 to 4,000 IUs of vitamin D daily I feel a lot better. The aches and pains are much less of a problem and my mood is much better.”
We offer more in-depth information on how to get enough of this vitamin in our Guide to Vitamin D Deficiency.