Vitamin D is an essential nutrient for the human body, yet most of us aren’t getting enough.
What makes vitamin D unique is that it is a vitamin and also a hormone your body can make from the sun. You can also get limited amounts of vitamin D by taking supplements.
Despite the ability to get vitamin D from food and the sun, an estimated 40%-75% of people are deficient.
The most natural way to get vitamin D is by exposing your bare skin to sunlight. This can happen very quickly, particularly in the summer. You don’t need to tan or burn your skin to get vitamin D. How much vitamin D you can get from the sun depends on the time of day, where you live in the world and the color of your skin. The more skin you expose the more vitamin D is produced.
What does vitamin D do?
We all need vitamin D. It spurs bone growth by helping the body absorb calcium from food and supplements. . Vitamin D also gives an important boost to the immune system.
How much vitamin D do I need?
The recommendations for adults up to age 69 rose to 600 IU/day, and to 800 IU/day for adults starting at age 70. Older adults need more vitamin D because as they age, their skin does not produce vitamin D efficiently, they spend less time outdoors, and they tend to not get enough vitamin D.
Best sources of vitamin D
The sun is an excellent source of vitamin D, but it is hard to quantify how much vitamin D you get from time in the sun. Unless you enjoy a diet that includes fatty fish or fish liver oils, it may be hard to get enough vitamin D naturally without eating fortified foods or taking a supplement.
Can I get enough vitamin D if I wear sunscreen?
You need sun protection as much as you need vitamin D. You can have both, without skin damage or nutritional deficiency.
When your skin is exposed to sunlight, it manufactures vitamin D. The problem is, too many people think that using sunscreen and other forms of sun protection leads to vitamin D deficiency, and that the best way to obtain enough of the vitamin is through unprotected sun exposure.
High-SPF sunscreens are designed to filter out most of the sun’s UVB radiation, since UVB damage is the major cause of sunburn and can lead to skin cancers. UVB wavelengths happen to be the specific wavelengths that trigger vitamin D production in the skin. Nonetheless, clinical studies have never found that everyday sunscreen use leads to vitamin D insufficiency. In fact, the prevailing studies show that people who use sunscreen daily can maintain their vitamin D levels.
One of the explanations for this may be that no matter how much sunscreen you use or how high the SPF, some of the sun’s UV rays reach your skin. An SPF 15 sunscreen filters out 93 percent of UVB rays, SPF 30 keeps out 97 percent, and SPF 50 filters out 98 percent. This leaves anywhere from 2 to 7 percent of solar UVB reaching your skin, even with high-SPF sunscreens. And that’s if you use them perfectly.
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The bottom line: food, supplements and protected sun exposure will give you all the vitamin D you need, without subjecting yourself to the multiple risks of unprotected sun exposure.
Source: Web MD ( https://www.webmd.com/diet/features/are-you-getting-enough-vitamin-d#1 )