As we know our body needs vitamins to maintain good health. While a healthy diet is important for most of these vitamins, Vitamin D is one the Vitamin which we get from sun exposure. But isn’t sun exposure supposed to be bad?
An internal medicine physician friend of mine suggested making sure that enough Vitamin D. He stated that Vitamin D, while known for causing rickets when deficient, is now being seen as a much more important factor in health in completely unrelated areas. It is thought that Vitamin D can reduce the risks of cancer, reduce risk of autoimmune disorders, decrease risk of cardiovascular disease, and ward off infections like influenza.
So this begs the question, how do I get Vitamin D? The USRDA recommends getting around 400 IU for an adult. That’s the amount found in most multivitamins. However, some experts feel that the benefits of Vitamin D should be around 5,000 IU a day. Thankfully, the sun can provide about 1,000 IU of vitamin D per minute in summer sunlight.
But isn’t sunlight bad for you?
Anything in excess is bad for you, including sunlight. Here are some guidelines to balancing sun intake with Vitamin D levels.
All the right places. I still suggest patients but on daily sunblock on their faces. The ravage of years of sun on the face, the most common location for skin cancers, can be minimized. If you are going to be in the sun for a limited period of time, considering leaving arm skin exposed.
Don’t Overcook It-Right amount of time. If you are fairly pale, being in the sun for 10 minutes, three times a week may be all that is necessary. If you have a darker complexion, consider up to a half an hour.
Eat it. During the winter months, sun can be pretty hard to come by. Vitamin D is not that common in our foods, but is found in some seafood and is fortified in milk. During the winter months, if you do decide to supplement it make sure it is the D3 format which is also known as cholecalciferol.