The Best Way to Get Vitamin D from the Sun
The sun is one of the best sources of vitamin D for the human body. The amount of vitamin D a person's body can produce from sun exposure is affected by some factors, including the time of day, geographic location, skin color, and whether or not they wear sunscreen.
Read: When is the best time to take vitamin D?
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient needed by our body. Calcium absorption requires vitamin D. Vitamin D is also important for bone development, bone repair, and immune system function.
How does the sun provide vitamin D?
The body needs a consistent supply of vitamin D for various processes.
The best natural source of vitamin D we can get is sun exposure. Even a brief exposure to sunlight can provide the body with all the vitamin D it needs for the day.
Heat for 10–30 minutes of midday sun several times per week to maintain appropriate blood levels. People with dark skin may need a little extra sun. The length of exposure should be determined by how sensitive your skin is to the sun. Just be careful not to overheat.
Because few foods contain large amounts of vitamin D, people can guarantee that they are getting enough of the vitamin by spending time outside regularly.
When ultraviolet B (UVB) rays from the sun hit a person's skin, mechanisms in the tissues start producing vitamin D for the body to use. It's important to note, however, that excessive sun exposure can lead to sunburn and even skin cancer.
Vitamin D helps the absorption of calcium, which is one of the main building blocks of bones. Vitamin D is also needed by the body to keep the nerves, muscles, and immune system functioning properly.
What factors affect the production of vitamin D from the sun?
- Time of day: When exposed to the sun in the middle of the day, when it is at the highest point in the sky, the skin produces more vitamin D. Wear sunscreen and stay hydrated when spending long periods in the scorching heat.
- Amount of skin exposed: The more skin exposed, the more vitamin D the body produces. For example, exposing your back allows your body to produce more vitamin D than just your hands and face.
- Skin tone: People with darker skin have more melanin, a substance that protects the skin by lowering the number of UVB rays that are absorbed. People with darker skin need more sun exposure to produce the same amount of vitamin D as people with lighter skin.
- The location where a person lives about the equator has a huge impact on how much vitamin D their body can produce.
Regular and moderate sun exposure is beneficial, but prolonged exposure can be harmful. It's important to highlight that those who spend too much time in the sun and get sunburnt have a higher chance of developing skin cancer.
The current recommendation is that people stay in the sun for half the time it takes their skin type to burn before covering up and resting in the shade. This should give them enough vitamin D without increasing the risk of skin cancer.
The Danger of Excessive Sunlight
While sunlight is beneficial for vitamin D production, too much sun can be harmful. The following are some of the consequences of excessive sunlight:
- Sunburns are the most common adverse result of overexposure to the sun. Symptoms of sunburn include redness, swelling, discomfort or sensitivity, and blisters.
- Long-term exposure to UV radiation can cause retinal damage. This can increase the risk of eye diseases such as cataracts.
- Aging skin: Excessive sun exposure can cause your skin to age faster. Some people's skin becomes more wrinkled, loose, or rough.
- Skin changes: Excessive sun exposure can cause freckles, moles, and other skin changes.
- Heat stroke, often known as sunstroke, is a condition in which the body's core temperature increases as a result of excessive heat or sun exposure.
- Skin cancer: Overexposure to UV rays is a major cause of skin cancer.
If you intend to spend a lot of time in the sun, take precautions to avoid sunburn. The length of your exposure should be determined by how sensitive your skin is to the sun.
Other sources of vitamin D
The sun, some foods, and vitamin D supplements are good sources of vitamin D.
The recommended daily intake of vitamin D from food or supplements is as follows:
- Children and adolescents: 600 (IU) or 15 micrograms (mcg).
- Adults up to age 70: 600 IU or 15 mcg.
- Adults 71 years and older: 800 IU or 20 mcg.
- During pregnancy and lactation: 600 IU or 15 mcg.
- Oily fish (salmon, sardines, herring, and mackerel)
- Fortified foods (certain fat spreads and morning cereals)
- Red meat
- Egg yolk
That's the article How to Get Vitamin D from the Sun the Safe Way!