There are really only two ways you can get vitamin D into your body. Ingest it, or expose your skin to sunlight. People who live in colder, northern climates often can’t get enough sun exposure even if they tried and must supplement. Ingestion of vitamin D can be in the form of naturally vitamin D rich foods, supplemented foods, or just plain supplements.
Every blood test that I’ve previously had that measured vitamin D showed my level to be low.
Since vitamin D is very critical to so many bodily functions, and my body is already run down enough from 30+ years of leaky gut and food allergies, getting my D level back up became a priority this year.
I limit my exposure to the sun, both by choice (I’m not interested in getting a tan) and by practice (I don’t do a whole lot outdoors in bright sunlight).
Over the course of several years, I’ve tried taking different vitamin D supplements. Even in a low dose, and from a supplement manufacturer that I trust to not include any other allergenic ingredients, vitamin D still makes me very ill (as in, severe food allergy reaction).
So, what about foods? Well, there are very few foods naturally high in vitamin D and they are seafood which I either would never eat or am allergic to. The same goes for the supplemented foods, like milk. All the good sources are foods that would make me sick.
That brings us back to sunlight. You can make adequate amounts of vitamin D from sun exposure, but it’s tricky. There are apps that help you compute the length of exposure you need based on how much skin is showing, angle of the sun, time of day, cloud cover, etc. In order for this to be successful, I’d have to stand outside for about 30 minutes, half naked, at noon, every day. Uh, I’m at work at noon most of the week, and it’s cold outside a good portion of the year, and it rains some days. This is clearly not a workable long-term solution!
But, there’s another approach. What about sunlight causes your skin to make vitamin D? In addition to the visible light emitted by the sun, it also produces lots of ultraviolet (UV) light. Science generally breaks down the bands of solar UV light into UVA, UVB and UVC. UVA light penetrates atmosphere, clouds and even glass and contributes to tanning, skin cancer, and skin aging. UVB penetrates atmosphere (not too much though), but not clouds or glass. UVB contributes very little to tanning, but DOES cause the skin to produce vitamin D. UVC usually doesn’t make it to the Earth’s surface and is very dangerous – we’ll skip that.
Hmm, is there a way to artificially dose yourself with UVB light and make vitamin D? Why, yes there is. Enter the Sperti Vitamin D lamp. Apparently, this device is FDA-approved for people who need vitamin D supplementation and is a perfect solution for people like me who are unable to tolerate vitamin D foods or supplements. It’s not cheap, but the reviews are good.
I gave the Sperti lamp a try. For the first half year of use, I followed the directions precisely. Five minutes of exposure to my chest or back, at a distance of 15 inches from the lamp, three times per week. After all that effort, my D level was still a sub-par 27 ng/ml. This Sperti lamp has undergone clinical testing and is proven to work, so what’s the problem? I discuss it with my doctor and decide to give it a another try.
Second time around, I used ten minutes of exposure to my chest or back, at 12 inches from the lamp, still at three times per week. And… we have success! My vitamin D levels are now at 46 ng/ml for the stable form and 50 pg/ml for the active form. Finally, I have vitamin D levels right where they should be for good health and you CAN do it with just UVB light exposure. Yay, something went right for me.