With debates over vitamin D supplements versus the benefit from a sunny day outdoors comes to a halt with expert recommendations.
The United Kingdom’s independent Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition says that this key component to bone health is absolutely essential and supplements are enough, according to Market Watch.
The committee announced the recommendation last week for a 10 microgram dietary supplement of vitamin D for everybody in the U.K. over the age of one year.
In 2014, the vitamin supplement industry was quoted to be worth about $36.7 billion. According to the Nutrition Business Journal, that number was a record high for the industry and they are expecting the soaring numbers to continue growing.
Even though most of the letter vitamin supplements decreased last year, vitamin D supplements did not. The vitamin that helps the body absorb calcium from foods and supplements increased 8.1%.
The Institute of Medicine is currently recommends a daily dose of 600 international units or 15 micrograms.
Founder of the vitamin D Council, Dr. John Cannell, stated that natural levels from people who are highly exposed to the sun for most of their day are around 5,000 to 10,000 IUs. He said that the attitudes around sun damage have caused people to restrict their time outdoors limiting their natural ability to product vitamin D in their skin.
“There are two choices, to get it from sunlight or take it as a supplement. There is no third choice,” Cannell said. “People have to make a choice.”
He also admitted thought that there is not a conclusive answer at this time as to how much direct sun exposure would allow the skin to naturally produce enough vitamin D. He added that either way, vitamin D is absolutely essential for growth and development.
If a person is not out in the sun most of the day, the recommended vitamin D supplement dose is 5,000 IU per day. But in place of the supplement or direct sun, the ideal situation would be to eat foods fortified with vitamin D, but there are not many foods naturally containing the vitamin.
Deficiency in the nutrient is linked to poor health including higher risks of heart disease, cancer and osteoporosis. But in turn, low vitamin D levels are also thought to be a result of poor health, not the cause.
The vitamin D Council says that direct exposure of your skin to sunlight for half the time it would take to turn pink is an adequate amount of vitamin D, about 10 minutes time.