The Sun and Vitamin D: What You Need to Know

Vitamin D is essential for our health, and the sun is one of the main sources of this important nutrient. But how much sun exposure is necessary to produce enough vitamin D? And what are the risks of getting too much or too little? In this article, we'll explore the relationship between vitamin D and the sun, and discuss the best ways to get enough of this essential nutrient. The body produces vitamin D from direct sunlight on the skin when you are outdoors. But between October and early March, we don't produce enough vitamin D from sunlight. Vitamin D is also found in a small number of foods.

It is said that you need to be exposed to the sun for a certain number of days to produce enough vitamin D to be healthy. Most people can get vitamin D from nutritional supplements and foods fortified with vitamin D.When the skin is exposed to sunlight, it produces vitamin D. The sun's ultraviolet B (UVB) rays interact with a protein called 7-DHC in the skin and convert it to vitamin D3, the active form of vitamin D. NHANES data revealed that the average intake of vitamin D from foods and supplements In women aged 51 to 71, it was 308 IU per day, but only 140 IU with food only (including fortified products).

Prospective observational studies have shown that higher blood levels of vitamin D are associated with lower rates of type 2 diabetes. On the other hand, “not getting enough vitamin D can have serious consequences, such as increased rates of bone loss or even osteomalacia (“soft bones”) in adults and rickets (a deforming bone disorder) in children, says Yale Medicine endocrinologist Karl Insogna, MD, director of the Yale Medicine Bone Center. Before taking new vitamins or supplements, talk to your healthcare provider to make sure you're not taking too much or too little. The Women's Health Initiative trial, which followed about 36,000 women for an average of seven years, found no reduction in the risk of colon or breast cancer in women who received daily supplements of 400 IU of vitamin D and 1000 mg of calcium, compared to those who received a placebo. Combined with the tendency of older adults to spend less time outdoors, this puts people aged 70 and older at greater risk of developing a vitamin D deficiency. These rays aren't as strong as they would be if they were exposed to direct sunlight, but they still allow the body to produce some vitamin D over time.

One tablespoon (14 grams) of cod liver oil contains more than three times the recommended daily amount of vitamin D.Although there is no direct evidence on this subject because it is such a new disease, avoiding low levels of vitamin D makes sense for this and other reasons. One of the biggest challenges we have faced in dermatology and in the world of skin cancer prevention has been the large amount of misinformation about the metabolism of vitamin D. This means that people who live farther from the equator line need to spend more time in the sun to produce an adequate amount of vitamin D.And low levels of vitamin D are common even in apparently healthy young adults; in one study, more than one-third people between 18 and 29 years old had disabilities. There are patients with specific problems who may need a prescription to get high levels of vitamin D, but for most people, that amount will increase their vitamin D level too much.

Before you start taking any level of vitamin D supplements, it would be wise to talk to your doctor to make sure that the amounts you take are right for you.

Ben Liebhardt
Ben Liebhardt

Amateur travel fanatic. General web buff. Certified travel junkie. Twitter nerd. Infuriatingly humble web practitioner. Certified beer nerd.

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