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liquid vitamin d and sunshine

This essential nutrient plays a wide range of salutary roles, from mood regulation to the development of white blood cells. “Vitamin D is necessary for the production of dopamine,” says naturopathic physician and licensed acupuncturist Laurie Steelsmith, ND, MS, LAc, coauthor of Great Sex, Naturally. “It’s important to have robust levels of vitamin D for your bones, your mood, and your immune system.”

Low levels of vitamin D have been associated with sexual and erectile dysfunction, notes integrative and functional nutritionist Cindi Lockhart, RDN, LD, IFNCP, as well as with low testosterone. (An ideal range is 50–80 ng/mL.)

A 2018 study in Poland found that premenopausal women who had deficient (less than 20 ng/mL) or insufficient (between 20 and 30 ng/mL) levels of vitamin D experienced improved sexual desire and satisfaction after supplementing with 2,000 to 4,000 international units (IU) of vitamin D3 daily for six months.

How to Supplement With Vitamin D:

Get 15 to 30 minutes of sunshine at least three times a week to stabilize your vitamin D levels. If you live in a climate where you’re covered up during short winter days and can’t get enough sun, many experts suggest taking at least 1,000 to 2,000 IU of supplemental vitamin D3 daily.

“Ideally, take it with vitamin K2, which helps ensure vitamin D is ­deposited in the bones and not the arteries, and with some healthy fat, which helps with absorption,” ­Lockhart says.

In rare cases, too much vitamin D can cause toxicity, so be sure to track your current levels. “I encourage people to check their vitamin D levels every six months, in the spring and fall,” Lockhart says. (For more on vitamin D, see “Vitamin D: What You Need to Know.”)

This was excerpted from “8 Key Supplements to Boost Your Mental Health — Naturally” which was published in Experience Life.

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Looking to enhance the mental health of a loved one — or yourself? We’ve curated a range of articles to help you support your mental health needs.

Mo Perry

Mo Perry is an Experience Life contributing editor.

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