Vitamin D: 5 Sun Facts You Need To Know
Posted on 23 September 2015
Vitamin D is an essential for good health. Find out 5 important sun facts, and how to get vitamin D without increasing your risk of skin cancer.
Vitamin D is an essential vitamin required by the body for bone development, the absorption of calcium, immune function, and alleviation of inflammation. The vitamin may protect against a host of diseases, as well as decrease depression.
The current U.S. Daily Value for vitamin D is 600 IU (international units).
And although it’s called the sunshine vitamin, there are important facts you need to know about getting adequate Vitamin D in your system.
1. SUN EXPOSURE
Sunlight spurs the body to make vitamin D. But there is a skin cancer risk, and the guidelines for exposure vary. The sun needs to shine on the skin of your face, arms, back, or legs (without sunscreen).
A general guideline suggests 10-20 minutes, 3 times a week.
2. SKIN TONE
Ten minutes of sunshine is enough to produce the body's requirement of vitamin D...if you have fair skin. If you are tan or are of Hispanic descent, you need maybe 15 to 20 minutes. Dark colored skin tones may require six times the sun exposure to make the same vitamin D levels.
3. LATITUDE AND TIME OF YEAR
The sun is less likely to provide your daily needs at higher latitudes, and in the winter. It's impossible to produce vitamin D from the sun during the winter if you live north of Atlanta because the sun never gets high enough in the sky for its ultraviolet B rays to penetrate the atmosphere.
The older you get, the less efficient your body becomes to producing vitamin D from sunshine.
5. INDOOR WINDOWS AND CLOUDY DAYS
Skin that is exposed to sunshine indoors through a window will not produce vitamin D. Cloudy days and shade also cut down on the amount of vitamin D the skin makes.
Although sunshine is the most convenient method of getting your vitamin D, there are real risks. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is the number one cause of skin cancer, the most common cancer in the United States. Ultraviolet radiation is considered a carcinogen (a cancer causing agent like aspestos).
Here are the top two non-sun solutions ensure adequate vitamin D intake.
With food, you can naturally supply your body with essential vitamin D. The foods highest in vitamin D include:
- Cod Liver Oil
- Oily fish: Salmon and Trout
- Fortified Cereals, Milk and Juice
Related Reading: Top 10 Foods Highest in Vitamin D with Nutrition Information
Vitamin D supplements can help you get a precise daily dose. Dermatologist and Little Leaves co-founder Dr. Carlos Gomez-Meade points out, “You don't run into the issue of skin cancer as you might with UV rays. Talk to your doctor before choosing a dosage."
In conclusion, vitamin D is an essential part of your good health. Talk with your doctor to discuss adequate vitamin D through diet and supplements to prevent an increased risk of cancer.
12 Ways to Get Your Daily Vitamin D
SkinCancer.org: Skin Cancer Facts
Cancer.org: Does UV radiation Cause Cancer?
Top 10 Foods Highest in Vitamin D with Nutrition Information
Patients Lacking Vitamin D More Likely to Be Depressed
5 Things You Need to Know About Vitamin D Deficiency