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Southfield, Michigan 48033-7496

Now that spring has finally sprung, it is time to get outdoors! Especially during this pandemic. It’s one of the safer things you can do. If you’re going to be around other people, make sure to mask up and stay at least 6 feet apart.

Spending time outdoors will not only improve your mood, it will help your body make vitamin D. Vitamin D helps keep your bones healthy, your immune system running, and is needed for proper muscle, nerve, and cell function. 

Getting enough vitamin D through food alone can be challenging because few foods are naturally rich in vitamin D. Good sources include fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel - and everyone’s favorite - cod liver oil! To help increase our intake, many processed foods have been fortified with vitamin D including milk, orange juice, and several ready-to-eat breakfast cereals.

To get vitamin D from the sun, experts recommend we spend from 5 to 30 minutes outdoors at least twice per week. Unfortunately, because it blocks the ultraviolet (UV) radiation our bodies need to make vitamin D, using a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 8 or greater will limit how much vitamin D our bodies make. Because UV radiation can’t travel through glass, sitting inside in front of a sunny window won’t help either. 

Since being outdoors with little or no sunscreen can have a downside, it’s a good idea to talk with your doctor about your vitamin D needs.  He will help you balance your need for vitamin D with any increased risk of skin cancer that might occur, and based on your diet, discuss any need you may have to take a vitamin D supplement.