There has been a lot of discussion about vitamin D and its effects on overall health including bone health, certain cancers, neurologic disease, infectious disease, autoimmune disease and cardiovascular disease.
Vitamin D can be synthesized by the body and starts in the skin with the production of vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) during exposure to ultraviolet rays. Alternatively, vitamin D can be ingested in foods or supplements.
The American Academy of Dermatology has always maintained that ingesting vitamin D is safer than exposing yourself to ultraviolet rays since there is no safe threshold for sun or indoor tanning exposure.
Based on a recent review of the literature by the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine, they have recently reaffirmed their position to get vitamin D from natural food sources and supplements rather than from ultraviolet exposure.
The National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine (IOM) is an independent, nonprofit organization that works outside of government to provide unbiased and authoritative advice to decision makers and the public. The IOM reviewed the scientific literature examining the possible relationship between vitamin D and certain types of cancers, neurologic disease, infectious disease, autoimmune disease and cardiovascular disease. After review of over 1,000 studies, the IOM concluded that there is strong evidence to support adequate vitamin D levels and bone health, but the evidence for other conditions was inconsistent, inconclusive and insufficient to inform nutritional requirements.