This is a rant.
It is only a rant.
If this had been a real, informative post, it would have been written by Crabby.
It is only a rant. Please remain calm.
Okay, yes, I get it that vitamin D is important. Hell, it's a vitamin. They're all important from a basic building-block-of-life point of view; that's why they get named after letters of the alphabet. Fine. No problem.
What makes me cranky is the sudden onrush of articles about how essential it is to get outdoors in the sunshine, stop and smell the roses (check first to be sure there's no bee visiting the rose first), and soak up some rays. SOME rays.
1 - Every which way you look, someone is warning about the evils of too much sun.
2 - You need vitamin D, which you can only get from sunshine or supplements, i.e. from putting some effort into ingesting the stuff. You really can't get all the vitamin D you should have just from regular (un-fortified) food. "Vitamin D is found naturally in very few foods."
On one hand, the argument against supplements is that you can overdo. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, so, like overdoing the vitamin A, it's possible to get too much of a good thing.
And on the other hand, we've all been warned for years that if you venture out in the daytime hours, you'd better be slathered in the greasy stuff. The problem with sunscreen is that if you wear the stuff, it almost invariably blocks the synthesis of vitamin D on your skin.
Technically, to make vitamin D you have to sweat. As the sun's rays hit the sweaty skin, vitamin D is synthesized in the sweat and then absorbed into the skin. Then the liver and the kidneys get into the act and finally you have the vitamin D that helps build bones and do a whole lot of other good things too.
To keep all the experts happy, you'll need to make sure you either a) get just the right amount of vitamin D through supplements or b)get outside for 20 minutes or so in the early morning or late afternoon without sunscreen, but to make sure you don't get skin cancer, you have to remember to use the greasy stuff if you're going to be out during the main part of the day.
It's a lot to remember. Complicated. In reality, I'll probably guard against the sun most of the time, but occasionally I know I'll forget and go out with unprotected skin, which will then allow me to get some vitamin D into my system. And of course supplement with vitamin pills. Since I forget to take them on a regular basis as well, this means I won't have to worry about overloading my system with the D stuff.
Sigh. One more thing to keep track of when I'd rather be off having fun in the sun or becoming a slug in a hammock.
Okay. Rant done.
Do you make a point of taking vitamin supplements or making sure you get juuuuust the right amount of non-sunscreened exposure? I would think for people in the more northern climes *cough* Canada *cough*, it would be really challenging to get all the vitamin D the experts say you should have without resorting to hitting the vitamin bottle or taking the odd vacation to Cancun in December. And January. February, too.
What do you do?