Summer is in full swing which means we see more hours of daylight and that fireball in the sky emerges from the clouds and nourishes us with its rays. Yes, the glorious sun! Whether you worship the sun or prefer the cool shade, did you know that exposing yourself to some sunlight has incredible benefits for your health?
When your bare skin absorbs the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays, it sets off a series of events resulting in the creation of Vitamin D. You may have heard about the importance of Vitamin D, especially over the last few years when it was put in the spotlight during the coronavirus pandemic for its crucial role in supporting your immune system1. Well, it also has other superpowers, including maintaining the strength and density of bones, assisting in muscle development, helping with brain function and mood, and contributing towards your overall cell health and longevity.
The good news is you don’t need to bask in the sun for hours to get your required amount of Vitamin D, and there are other sources besides sunlight.
Here are 4 ways you can safely keep your Vitamin D levels topped up this Summer:
1. Time outside
Spending time outside is the most natural and easiest way to keep your Vitamin D levels topped up at this time of year. If you have lighter skin, 13 minutes of sun exposure three times a week may be enough to keep your Vitamin D levels healthy. Those with darker skin may require longer exposure, so be sure to modify your time in the sun accordingly2.
2. Protect yourself
While sunlight is beneficial for Vitamin D production, overexposure can be harmful. Consider wearing protective clothing or sunscreen and keep your water bottle handy!
3. Vitamin D from your diet Certain foods like fatty fish, red meat, and mushrooms exposed to sunlight can provide a natural source of Vitamin D, and taste wonderful too3!
4. Consider supplementation Supplementing with Vitamin D can be beneficial, especially during the Winter months. It is important to follow the recommended dosage however, as you cannot get too much Vitamin D from sunshine or food, but issues can come if you are significantly over-supplementing. If in doubt, speak to your healthcare provider. Topping your Vitamin D levels up from the sunshine is undoubtedly the most effective way, and that fresh air and warmth on the skin is excellent for the soul too. A little bonus tip would be to incorporate it with a short walk. Not only will it help to get that sunshine, but it will also keep your spine moving well too! If we can be of any further help, please reach out.
1. Bartholomew, R. (2020, October 14). Nutri Advanced. Retrieved from How Vitamin D Actually Supports Immune Health: https://www.nutriadvanced.co.uk/news/how-vitamin-d-actually-supports-immune-health/
2. Rhodes LE, Webb AR, Fraser HI, Kift R, Durkin MT, Allan D, O'Brien SJ, Vail A, Berry JL. Recommended summer sunlight exposure levels can produce sufficient (> or =20 ng ml(-1)) but not the proposed optimal (> or =32 ng ml(-1)) 25(OH)D levels at UK latitudes. J Invest Dermatol. 2010 May;130(5):1411-8.
3. Stevenson, S. (2021). Eat Smarter. New York: Little, Brown Spark.
The content of this blog is for educational purposes and is not intended to offer personal medical advice. You should seek the advice of a qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this blog.