Since vitamin D is used in a wide variety of the body’s functions, it can also appear as many different signs and symptoms making it more difficult to diagnose. The effects of vitamin D deficiency can range from lack of energy, mood swings, depression, chronic skin conditions, and has been found to be associated with serious conditions such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, various autoimmune diseases, and osteoporosis(1).
Where does Vitamin D come from?
Naturally derived vitamin D originates in the food that we eat and can be produced through sunlight exposure. It is found in foods such as dairy products, fatty fish(salmon, mackerel, tuna), eggs, and beef liver. The body is able to produce small amounts of vitamin D through the melanin in skin(the stuff that makes you tan) and adequate exposure to sunlight.
Click Here for a list of foods high in Vitamin D!
How much sunlight is recommended for Vitamin D?
This is dependent on your skin tone! Darker skin has evolved over time to have more melanin, providing skin natural protection from sunburns. In contrast, darker skinned people would have to spend more time outdoors to produce the same amount of vitamin D as lighter skinned people. (this may not be a bad thing for those of you who like to spend time outside!)
30 minutes -3 hours per day of sunshine
Tip1=*Know your skin! How long does it take you to sunburn?
A good rule of thumb is to spend 10-30 minutes exposing ⅓ – ⅔ of your body to sunlight without sunblock, applying before you start to burn. Studies have shown that using spf 30 can reduce the vitamin D production by 95-98%.
Tip 2=* protect your face!
Use sunblock, a hat, and sunglasses. Your head and face make up a small portion of skin on your body so extra sun exposure doesn’t contribute much to producing vitamin D.
Tip 3= Soak up the sun around noon
Do you really need another great reason to enjoy your lunch break outside on a sunny day? Roll up your sleeves and catch some beneficial rays! Studies have shown that the best time to get sunshine is midday since there are the most UVB rays, with 30 minutes of sun exposure being equivalent to up to 10,000-20,000 IU of vitamin D (2). (just be careful if you have sensitive skin and are prone to burning!)
Supplements: How much Vitamin D do I need everyday?
Many nutritional experts recommend adults to get 1,000-4,000 IU of Vitamin D per day to reach healthy vitamin D blood levels. Studies have shown people who have blood levels with high amounts of vitamin D have a 50% decrease in risk of colorectal cancer, and a 10% decrease in risk of cardiovascular disease.
(Click here to find out our recommendations for Supplements?)
Always be sure to talk to your doctor or nutritionist for guidelines on how much is appropriate for you!
If you have any further questions feel free to call us at: (415) 758-2970