Vitamin D is essential for good health, but it’s hard to get enough. “Vitamin D is not in many foods,” says Dr. Donald Hensrud, medical director of the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program. “It’s challenging to get all we need.” We get some vitamin D through exposure to sunlight, but people in northern climates don’t get much sunlight in winter and we don’t absorb vitamin D from the summer sun if we use sunscreen, which is recommended for cancer protection.
The good news is it’s easy to get the vitamin D we need by taking a daily supplement year-round. Mayo Clinic recommends at least 600 international units (IU) daily and says up to 2,000 IU is safe for adults. Those with ongoing health conditions should consult their health care provider before taking any supplement.