When our skin is exposed to sunlight, it makes Vitamin D from cholesterol. The sun's ultraviolet B (UVB) rays hit cholesterol in the skin cells, providing the energy for vitamin D synthesis to occur.
Many of us underestimate the role that Vitamin D has on our bodies, even though many of these roles are essential for optimal health.
We all know that Vitamin D is linked to bone health, Rickets, and Osteomalacia. Vitamin D instructs the cells in your gut to absorb calcium and phosphorus — two minerals that are essential for maintaining strong and healthy bones.
Vitamin D can also facilitate normal immune system function. Getting a sufficient amount of vitamin D is also important for improved resistance against certain diseases.
Various studies have also linked Vitamin D to helping reduce anxiety and depression, as well as boosting weight loss.
On the other hand, low Vitamin D levels have been linked to serious health consequences, including:
• Muscle weakness
If you do not get enough sunlight, it’s often recommended to take a supplement, but only a handful of foods contain significant amounts of vitamin D. These include cod liver oil, swordfish, salmon, tinned tuna, beef liver, egg yolks, and sardines. That said, you would need to eat them nearly every day to get enough Vitamin D.
It’s important to note that the sun’s UVB rays cannot penetrate through windows. So people who work next to sunny windows are still prone to Vitamin D deficiency.
When is the best time to expose your skin to the sunshine?
Many studies have shown that midday, especially during summer, is the best time to get sunlight. At noon, the sun is at its highest point, and its UVB rays are most intense. That means you need less time in the sun to make sufficient Vitamin D. Our bodies are also at their most efficient at making Vitamin D at noon.
For example, in the UK, 13 minutes of midday sunlight exposure during the summer, three times per week is enough to maintain healthy levels.
How much skin do I need to expose?
As Vitamin D is made from cholesterol in the skin, we need to expose lots of skin to the sunlight to make enough. Some scientists recommend exposing around a third of the area of your skin to the sun.
Just be aware that when we use sunscreen to protect our skin against sunburns and skin cancer. The skin is exposed to lower levels of harmful UV rays, that’s because sunscreen contains chemicals that either reflects, absorb, or scatter sunlight. However, because UVB rays are essential for making vitamin D, sunscreen could prevent the skin from producing it.
Just make sure to prevent burning if you’re staying in the sun for a long time. Instead, try going without sunscreen for just the first 10–30 minutes, depending on how sensitive your skin is to sunlight, and apply sunscreen before you start burning.
Regular sun exposure is the most natural way to get enough Vitamin D. However, due to many factors, it may be beneficial to supplement with a quality Vitamin D. U Perform is launching a very high-quality Vitamin D3 supplement.