Vitamin D & Sun Exposure
What You Need To Know
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that exists in your body in a variety of states. It is interesting to note that vitamin-D is not only resourced via dietary consumption, but also is resourced through our own body's production of it.
The role of Vitamin D in Our Bodies
Vitamin-D is primarily responsible for maintaining blood calcium and phosphorus levels, and assisting in calcium absorption which builds and maintains strong bones.
Exposure to the sun is an important source of Vitamin D, according to the American National Institute of Health.
It is produced in our bodies naturally as a result of exposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays. With regards to this, how much Vitamin D production occurring in an individuals body is determined by a number of variables.
Although only small doses of regular sunlight are required for sufficient Vitamin D production to occur, such as daily tasks that take you outdoors, the range of variables that affect regular small exposures are pretty extensive.
Don't depend on the sun alone for Vitamin D.
There are too many variables that come into play that effect just how much sun is contributing to Vitamin D synthesis.
#1 According to the National Institute of Health, factors such as geographical location, season, weather, and life circumstances (ie. homebound or work related limitations to the outdoors) significantly alter the presence of natural Vitamin D production in an individual.
#2 Proper sun protection and the use of sunscreen is a critical measure to your health and is an extremely recommended part of your daily routine. Sunscreen with a higher SPF than 8 will prevent UV absorption, but a minimum SPF of 15 is generally recommended by dermatologists. Sun exposure greater than 10-15 minutes without sunscreen, will significantly increase sun risk factors.
The bottom line? Don't forfeit the dramatic health benefits of sun protection. Make sure you get the daily adequate allowance of Vitamin D and the daily recommended morning sunscreen application.
Because of the importance of vitamin D to your body, everyone should ensure they are getting an adequate dietary allowance of Vitamin D. This can be achieved through age group appropriate supplements and/or Vitamin D rich foods.
*These recommendations have been resourced from the National Institute of Health.
Vitamin D rich foods can almost be sub-categorized into either fatty fish or vitamin D fortified foods.
Here are a couple of dietary serving examples with Vitamin D
Cod Liver Oil, 1 Tbs. has 1,360 IU and is 340 % Daily Value Milk, nonfat, reduced fat, and whole, vitamin D fortified, 1 c has 98 IU and is 25% Daily Value.
Special attention age groups with regards to Vitamin D and risk of deficiency;
Supplementation is always discussed by doctors and often recommended for infants since they are relying solely on breast milk which may not contain enough Vitamin D (unless there is a consistent routine of small regular doses of sun). Formula for infants is often fortified with Vitamin D.
Children still require more Vitamin D than adults but this should ideally occur through proper eating habits and not dependent on vitamin supplementation.
*Remember to keep vitamins, as with medicines, out of children's reach.
As we age, skin becomes less efficient at converting Vitamin D in our bodies. This may effect our Vitamin D supply which will keep our bones strong and healthy. It is thought Vitamin D supplementation may help prevent the weakening of the bones known as osteoporosis.
Supplement with caution.
As with any vitamin or mineral, there are health issues related to inadequate amounts that will lead to deficiency, and excessive amounts that can lead to toxic levels.
Make sure you do your homework when it comes to supplementing. Make sure that it is age appropriate and even health status appropriate ie. pregnant or other health conditions. Watch out for overlap if you are using multi vitamins in conjunction with other supplements. As stated above, your doctor is always the best source of advice for your own vitamin supplementation, but you can also get great vitamin supplement advice and information when you click here.