This Is How Much Vitamin D You Really Need Every Day

Dacy Knight

Vitamin D is essential to our health and even existence, but depending on where you live or what you do for a living, you might not be getting enough of it. Though we know it's a fundamental part of our wellbeing, what most of us really know about it is relatively limited. How can we be sure we're getting our daily dose? New York Magazine's Science of Us recently consulted two experts to weigh in on just how much vitamin D is actually needed.

Vitamin D is a "uniquely important vitamin" because it controls hundreds of genes and is involved in the endocrine system and immune system, says Dr. Chris D'Adamo, an assistant professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He also notes that the main way people get vitamin D is through sun exposure, about which registered dietitian Brigitte Zeitlin adds is like "human photosynthesis." The average recommended daily dose for adult males and females is 600 IU, or 10 to 15 minutes of uncovered sun exposure.

You can also up your vitamin D intake through certain foods like salmon, tuna, and sardines, as well as fortified milk. Being sure to spend some time outdoors each day and eating a well-rounded nutrient-packed diet are the best ways to ensure you're getting enough vitamin D but the only way to know for sure is through a blood test (which you can ask for during your annual physical). Individuals with vitamin-D deficiencies don't often have symptoms, though can experience fatigue, muscle aches, and migraines. D'Adamo recommends that everyone gets a vitamin-D test to be sure.

Head here to discover nine vitamin D-boosting foods a doctor swears by.

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