Vitamin D plays many roles in our bodies. It regulates immune health, helps to build and maintain strong bones, and absorbs calcium and phosphorus into the blood stream. While vitamin D can be obtained naturally through food, like fish and eggs, or through exposure to sunlight, most people (especially women) don’t get enough of it, the result of which can be linked to poor skeletal health, cancer, depression, heart disease, and obesity.
You might be under the impression that spending more time in the sun is all it takes to combat this deficiency. But that’s not true. In fact, there are several variables dependent on how much vitamin D your body requires, as well as how well it absorbs sunlight.
According to David Rostollan, N.D., in his article “Vitamin D: How to Determine Your Optimal Dose” written for NaturalNews.com, “Healthy, young people can usually get the vitamin D they need from around 10 to 30 minutes of sun exposure per day, depending on their location and time of year. Most adults in today’s modern world, however, do not even attempt to get this much sun exposure, much less achieve it.”
Dr. Rostollan adds that, even if adults did attempt more exposure, issues of location, age, and skin color can hinder proper sunlight absorption. “Because of the axial tilt of the earth, the further north one lives, the less the sun’s UVB rays will be able to activate vitamin D in the skin…If you’re around 35-40 years-old or above, you’re likely losing the ability to activate sufficient levels of vitamin D in your skin…[and] if you have a lot of pigment in your skin, this is going to shield you from the UVB radiation you need.” Being overweight and illnesses, like cancer, can also require higher vitamin D levels, as the vitamin is consumed much faster in larger or weakened bodies.
Don’t attempt to adjust your vitamin D levels on your own though. Taking vitamin D supplements can be harmful if you take too high a dose; and while sun exposure can’t make you overdose on vitamin D, too much time in the sun can put you at risk for skin cancer. As usual, you should only increase sun exposure or start taking a supplement after you have consulted with your physician.