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Soak Up the Sun and Vitamin D
After a long winter, it’s finally time to bring out the bathing suits and bring on the sunshine! It’s finally warm enough to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine! Being in the Northeast, we only get a few months (May-Sept.) that are warm enough to go sun bathing and soak up some vitamin D.
Even though in the winter, we can get some sun and try to eat a good amount of vitamin D rich foods, it’s usually not enough. So when the summer comes, I am excited to put away the supplement, go back to nature and get my vitamin D from the sun as we did hundreds of years ago.
Nearly 70% of the population is deficient in vitamin D, an essential vitamin for good health.
Why are so many deficient?
Getting enough vitamin D from your diet isn’t easy, very few foods naturally contain vitamin D. The few foods that contain higher amounts such as salmon or mackerel would need to be eaten several times per week for adequate amounts of vitamin D. This, combined with the fact that physicians and the media are teaching everyone to fear the sun, is why many aren’t getting enough of this vitamin. Yet, when used sensibly, sun exposure can be very healing and should not be feared or avoided by smothering skin with chemically laden sunscreens.
Benefits of the Sun and Vitamin D
– Prevents Cancer
– Boosts the Immune System
– Prevents Multiple Sclerosis
– Prevents Periodontal Disease
– Prevents Cardiovascular Disease
– Prevents Schizophrenia and Depression
– Reduces Severity of Asthma
– Reduces Risk of Diabetes
Difference Between Vitamin D from Sunlight and Supplements
When your skin is exposed to the sunlight it absorbs both UVA and UVB rays. The UVB rays allow skin to synthesize vitamin D3, one of the major forms of vitamin D.
Supplements can contain different forms of vitamin D, most consist of vitamin D2 and/or vitamin D3.
Even though both vitamin D2 and D3 are precursors to the vitamin D hormone, vitamin D3 is 3 times more effective at creating the hormone. Thus, the vitamin D we absorb from the sun is very beneficial and is a great option for increasing your vitamin D.
How Much do You Need Each Day?
Generally, make sure to get outside and enjoy the sunshine for about 10 minutes a day. This doesn’t mean you have to lay out in a bathing suit, you can absorb the sunlight just as well, by exposing your arms, hands, legs, or face. However, there are a few factors that come into play with this number, your skin tone, your location, and the weather conditions.
According to Dr. Hollick, individuals with darker skin may need to remain exposed to the sunlight for about 20 to 30 minutes to absorb an adequate amount of vitamin D. Dr. Hollick equated this to someone with lighter skin wearing sun protection.
If you live at a more northern latitude, the sun’s rays aren’t as strong and you should expose your skin for an increased time, approximately 30 minutes.
The best time of day to soak up the sun is anywhere between 10:00am and 2:00pm, as this is when the UVB rays are most abundant.
What About a Cloudy Day?
On cloudy days, less UV radiation reaches the earth’s surface. However, some of the sun’s rays, both UVA and UVB can still be absorbed by your skin. Even on a cloudy day, you can benefit from absorbing the sun’s rays, even if minimal.
Can You Get Vitamin D While Indoors?
Sometimes the sun is shinning, but it’s just too cold to go out or maybe you work indoors but have a window letting in the light.
Have you ever wondered if you still can get some vitamin D through the glass?
In the winter, I used to sit in my living room next to the large windows and try to get some sun hoping this would give some benefit. Unfortunately, most glass blocks out the majority of UVB rays which provide the benefits of synthesizing vitamin D.
Don’t Wash Your Skin After Being in the Sun
After you soak up some sun, it can take up to 48 hours before the majority of the vitamin D is absorbed! It is important not to wash the sebum off your skin as vitamin D is formed on the surface and does not immediately make its way into the bloodstream.
To allow for optimal absorption, try not to wash you skin immediately after enjoying the sun outdoors.
How often do you try to get vitamin D from the sun?