The Sunshine Vitamin by Dr. Keerthy Sunder and Jeffrey Bohnen


The beautiful Californian sun shining down onto the laptop used to type these words couldn’t be more fitting, given the topic of our article this month. The sun’s light is actually absorbed and processed by our bodies to produce Vitamin D!

Want a quick, noninvasive test to see if you’re getting enough Vitamin D?

Here it is: check to see if you have tan lines.

The presence of tan lines is a quick and dirty indicator that your levels of Vitamin D are probably sufficient. However, especially during the winter, it’s quite common to develop Vitamin D insufficiency. In fact, it’s estimated that Vitamin D insufficiency affects almost half of the world’s population.

But why does Vitamin D matter?

The funny thing about Vitamin D is that it’s not really a vitamin. It’s actually a hormone, which means that it can directly affect gene expression. Vitamin D is a key regulator of the mind and body, as it supports:

Bone Health – it helps your body absorb calcium, which strengthens your bones.

Mood and Well-being – it may help regulate mood and protect you from depression.

Weight Loss – may help regulate appetite.

Healthy Energy Levels – may improve energy levels and lower stress.

Disease Prevention – proper Vitamin D levels may reduce your risk for developing multiple sclerosis, heart disease, and the flu.

Cellular Health – Vitamin D may slow down the effects of aging.

A lack of Vitamin D can lead to a variety of related disruptions in the mind and body. For example, research found that people with deficient Vitamin D levels were 91% more likely to develop insulin resistance (a precursor for diabetes). Low levels of Vitamin D have also been implicated as a risk factor for cancer, autoimmunity, gut-brain issues, hormonal imbalances, and dementia.

Okay, that sounds important … so how do I get it?

The easiest way is to soak up some sunshine. Although it’s a rough approximation, fifteen minutes of sunshine per day is a common recommendation. Keep in mind, however, that factors such as distance from the equator, clothing, and skin pigment affect Vitamin D absorption. In addition, it may not be possible to receive sufficient sun exposure during certain parts of the year or in certain environments. In such cases, it’s best to ensure that your diet contains healthy sources of Vitamin D, such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, and eggs (eat the yolks). In addition, milk is often fortified with Vitamin D.

Fun fact: The government implemented a milk fortification program during the 1930’s to overcome rickets (soft/weak bones), which was a major public health problem at the time.

Another option to ensure sufficient Vitamin D levels is supplementation. Specifically, I’d recommend looking for a Vitamin D3 supplement from a trustworthy distributor. As a gift to our readers, we’d be happy to offer a 15% discount for people interested in our own premium-quality Vitamin D3 supplement. Simply mention Step 12 Magazine Vitamin D3 Discount in an email to, and we’ll hook you up. Taking a Vitamin D3 each day has the potential to help you achieve joy, peace, and balance in your recovery.

Note: Dietary Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning that its absorption is dependent on the presence of fat molecules. This means that it’s best to take a Vitamin D supplement with a hearty meal.

Should I be worried about taking too much?

The short answer is both yes and no. The form of Vitamin D that we make from sunlight is more easily regulated by our bodies. Therefore, it’s difficult to “overdose” on sun-derived Vitamin D—although you will probably have other things to worry about if you’re receiving too much sun exposure. On the other hand, you have to be careful with Vitamin D derived from food or supplements because excessive amounts of these molecules can become toxic. Be sure to carefully follow the suggested usage guidelines for Vitamin D supplements. Of course, consult with your doctor before making any changes in your diet and supplementation.

As always, don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

Now get out there and enjoy the sun!

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