The Benefits of Vitamin D for Full Body Health: How to Get More Naturally

Your body depends on a consistent supply of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients to thrive. 

As a holistic skincare company, we love exploring, learning, and sharing our perspective on how these nutrients can support full-body health + longevity. 

Today, we’re exploring the benefits of one of the most essential vitamins in our bodies: vitamin D. Vitamin D is shown to provide a vast list of benefits throughout the body’s systems, including skin.

Though some sources believe there isn’t enough proof to claim the “direct” benefits of vitamin D, here’s what we know. There’s almost always an association between chronic diseases or conditions and a vitamin D deficiency. So, logic would suggest that adding more of this critical vitamin to your body could make a big difference. 

Not just for overall wellness but, of course, for skin health too. 

Considering how deeply it supports our body, we thought it’d be helpful to shine a spotlight on this essential vitamin. 

So in this post we’ll discuss:

→ The role this vitamin plays in your body and overall health 

→ Why this vitamin matters for your health

→ How to increase your vitamin D levels through lifestyle, diet, or supplements 

Let’s dive in.

Vitamin D: What It Does (+ Why Many Are Deficient)

Vitamin D is known to help regulate many cellular functions throughout the body, making it a clear pillar of wellness. Studies show that every single cell in your body has a vitamin D receptor.1 (How’s that for important?) 

Though it’s known as a “vitamin,” it functions like a hormone. It turns genes “on” or “off” to initiate important changes or functions in your body. Vitamin D is thought to play a role in critical bodily functions like:

  • Bone health 
  • Immune function
  • Mood regulation
  • Muscle function 
  • Glucose metabolism2
  • Brain function 
  • Internal circadian rhythms

  • And though it plays so many important roles, many people today are vitamin D deficient. It’s estimated that a whopping 1 billion people are deficient in vitamin D, and ¾ of US adults are thought to have a vitamin D deficiency.3,4 (Crazy, right?)

    → So, how do we get vitamin D, and why is vitamin D deficiency such an enormous issue today? 

    Well, there are only a few ways to get vitamin D naturally: 

  • When exposed to sunlight, your skin produces an active form of vitamin D. So, if you live in a sunny/warm climate, you may have higher levels of vitamin D. Sadly, most people aren’t able to get enough vitamin D solely through sun exposure due to location or a job that keeps them inside eight hours a day. 

  • Foods with naturally occurring vitamin D. Unfortunately, vitamin D is hard to find in large quantities. The issues within conventional farming systems and poor soil health add to this issue, depleting our crops of adequate nutrient content. So, even a whole-food diet doesn’t typically provide adequate vitamin D. 

  • These are some basic ways vitamin D contributes to overall health and wellness. Let’s discuss some studies looking into the specific (+ life-changing) benefits of vitamin D.

    Benefits of Vitamin D

    One of the most critical (and well-known) benefits of vitamin D is bone health and prevention against osteoporosis. Without vitamin D, your body can’t absorb as much calcium, which is essential for bone health.5 Adequate vitamin D levels can also reduce your risk of nonvertebral fractures and slow bone loss.6,7

    Vitamin D also has a long list of direct and indirect benefits. Here are some of the many roles this nutrient plays within your body. 

    Other potential benefits of vitamin D include: 

  • Reduces the risks of certain cancers and reduces cell growth7,3
  • Supports cognitive health7
  • Reduces the risk of + helps treat multiple sclerosis8
  • Supports mood/mental health 
  • Prevents muscle spasms and cramps2
  • Reduces the risk of chronic illnesses9
  • Supports cardiovascular health2
  • Helps prevent type 2 diabetes2
  • Aids in controlling infections3

  • To add to that remarkable list, this vitamin also has skin benefits! You didn’t think we’d leave out the details on skin benefits, did you? ;)

    Benefits of Vitamin D for Your Skin

    While we believe in aging gracefully (and accepting that aging is a natural part of life), vitamin D is involved in critical components of a healthy, youthful complexion. 

    Adequate vitamin D levels benefit your skin by supporting: 

  • Collagen production
  • Epidermal barrier function
  • The regulation of inflammation (even chronic conditions like psoriasis7 )
  • Healing wounds
  • Your protection against sun damage

  • Vitamin D plays a role in all these processes, supporting healthy skin and preventing premature aging.5

    So now we know: the benefits of vitamin D are expansive, but so is vitamin D deficiency. Luckily, we have the details for how to get more vitamin D in your life ASAP. ;)

    The Best Vitamin D Sources

    In line with our holistic approach, we believe getting vitamin D naturally is the best route – whenever possible. But don’t stress. There are plenty of supportive supplements, which we’ll get to in a minute. 

  • Daily Sun Exposure
  • There’s no one right answer for the amount of daily sun exposure you need. However, studies prove a strong link between lower disease rates, sunnier places, and/or higher vitamin D levels.3

    When getting your daily sun time, sunscreen-free is key. This isn’t a popular opinion with everyone, but we firmly believe you don’t need to wear sunscreen every day.

    Sun exposure is critical for bodily rhythms, hormones, and feel-good endorphins. Your skin can only create vitamin D when exposed to UVB rays from the sun – which conventional sunscreens are designed to block.7  

    We believe there’s a healthy amount of sun exposure. We aren’t advocates for excessive sun exposure or failing to protect your skin (the opposite, in fact!). It IS possible to spend time in the sun that’s responsible + beneficial to your entire body system.

    Conventional medicine takes sun protection (and the use of toxic sunscreens) to an unnecessary extreme. Plus, there are many ways to avoid dangerous UV rays (hats, sunglasses, shade, avoiding intense hours of UV, covering with light layers, to name a few).

    The amount of sun exposure you need to gain the benefits of vitamin D depends on:

  • The time of day you’re outside
  • Your location in the world (+ distance from the equator)
  • Your skin type (pigmentation, heritage/tendencies to burn, etc.)
  • Environmental factors (like smog)
  • The amount of cloud cover that’s present, which can limit exposure

  • *Tip: Our founder loves the app called “D-minder,” which shows important information about sun exposure based on your location. It can tell you the current UV level, timeframe to be in the sun to get your daily vitamin D, and how long you can be in the sun before burning. Genius!

  • Vitamin D-Rich Foods
  • Unfortunately, as we mentioned, it’s hard to find naturally occurring vitamin D in food. It’s typically small amounts, but still worth adding to your diet. Studies show that animal-based foods provide a 5x more potent form of vitamin D in addition to the standard D3.2  

    So, if you’re looking to up your vitamin D levels, animal-based is a great way to go. 

    Here are some of the best options:2

    • Fatty fish (trout, salmon, mackerel, tuna, sardines)
    • Egg yolks (which are also a skin superfood!)
    • Cod liver oil (we like Rosita Extra-Virgin)
    • Beef Liver (one of the most nutrient-dense foods in the world)
    • Some cheeses (check out our thoughts on raw dairy)
    • Mushrooms (some are treated with UV light to increase their D2 levels) 

    Even though you likely won’t get your full vitamin D needs through food alone, these whole-food options are nutrient-dense and well worth your time. 

  • Vitamin D Supplements 
  • If you’re unable to get enough vitamin D naturally because of your circumstances, supplements might be necessary. While they’re not the preferred form of vitamin D (natural is best), don’t discount the power of a clean, non-GMO vitamin D supplement!

    Many practitioners advise patients to take extra vitamin D, especially during winter when they're outside less or live in a cold or cloudy climate. Pregnant women are also advised to maintain adequate levels of vitamin D throughout their pregnancy to support healthy baby development.

    *Tip: Opt for a vitamin D that includes K2 or pair with magnesium to boost absorption. 

    Maybe you can get adequate vitamin D through sun exposure and food sources. Or maybe a vitamin D supplement is the best option for you. Either way, we encourage you to consider adding more vitamin D to your routine.

    Support Wellness, Naturally 

    Adding vitamin D is a helpful step that could impact your health significantly.

    In our book, vitamin D is a star player for supporting the whole person. The benefits of vitamin D support an overall sense of wellness in your body and mind. It also supports radiant, youthful, and healthy skin. 

    (Yes, please!) 


    **This is not medical advice. This article is intended to relay information on the role vitamin D plays within the body as seen in studies. If you have any questions or are unsure about how much vitamin D to take, ask your healthcare practitioner for customized advice.


    1. National Library of Medicine | The Effects of Vitamin D on Skeletal Muscle Function and Cellular Signaling 
    2. National Institutes of Health | Vitamin D Fact Sheet
    3. Harvard School of Public Health | Vitamin D  
    4. National Library of Medicine | Demographic Differences and Trends of Vitamin D Insufficiency in the US Population, 1988-2004 
    5. National Library of Medicine | IOsteoporosis and Dermatoporosis: A Review on the Role of Vitamin D 
    6. National Library of Medicine | Prevention of Nonvertebral Fractures With Oral Vitamin D and Dose Dependency: A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials 
    7. Mayo Clinic | Vitamin D 
    8. Mayo Clinic | Vitamin D and MS: Is There Any Connection? 
    9. National Library of Medicine | Vitamin D for Health: A Global Perspective

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    Vitamin D helps promote healthy bone health and contributes to many important systems and functions throughout your body – even your skin. | Primally Pure Skincare

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