Summers coming and the sun is shining, it is time to get Vitamin D and its health impacts more involved in your day to day. This means Vitamin D is being produced in the skin which is helping to make our bones and muscles strong along with maintaining our overall health. How do we balance soaking in the Vitamin D without being put at risk of sun burns and skin cancer though?

Read on to find out how, along with the benefits of getting enough of the sunshine vitamin while you can!



What is Vitamin D?


We have previously mentioned the benefits of calcium for bone strength. The benefits of calcium would not be obtained without sufficient amounts of Vitamin D. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin which is required for a number of physiological processes in the body. Vitamin D is produced when the skin is exposed to sunlight, making it a unique vitamin.

Two different types exist;

  • D3 which is produced in the skin in response to sunlight and
  • D2 which can be obtained by certain foods and supplements.



Functions of Vitamin D for health


Absorption of calcium

The presence of vitamin D in the body allows for the absorption of calcium from the intestine and regulates calcium metabolism which is vital for bone health. Who wouldn’t want calcium to be absorbed a bit easier?


Bone health

It plays a key role in the formation of bones and prevents weak and brittle bones that may cause conditions such as rickets in children or osteomalacia in adults. Healthy bones equals a healthy life


Immune system support

Studies show that vitamin D plays a role in modulating the immune system along with fighting infections and reducing inflammation. The better our immune system, the healthier we are. Sounds pretty good doesn’t it?


Cell growth and Regulation

It is involved in the regulation of cell growth and differentiation which contribute to an array of daily body processes.

Mood enhancement

Various studies also show that Vitamin D is also a crucial factor which may influences symptoms of depression.



Sources of Vitamin D


15mg/ day for those up to 70 years is advised, while 25mg is advised for those above this age. How Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is necessary for the production of vitamin D in the skin and is the best natural source of Vitamin D.

Although it is important to have some sun exposure to help with adequate levels of Vitamin D, having too much exposure to the sun can result in skin and eye damage, sunburn and skin cancer. It is important to note that the body can only absorb a limited amount of vitamin D at a time and spending extra time in the sun will not increase the bodies levels of vitamin D.

Instead it will increase your risk of skin cancer.

Food sources include:

  • fresh oils,
  • oily fish,
  • eggs,
  • vitamin-D fortified cereals,
  • margarines and
  • some yoghurts.


Food sources alone however are unlikely to allow you to reach adequate amounts, so if you are somebody who is at risk of vitamin D deficiency (very limited sun exposure, or dark skin), a daily vitamin D supplement is recommended.



How sun much is too much?


How much time that is required to stay out in the sun depends on the time of the year and how high the UV rays are. It is recommended that when the UV rays at 3 or above that sun protection such as SPF 30 or higher, hats, cool covering clothing and sunglasses are worn. In NSW, during the months from august until April, UV levels are 4 or above reaching an average of 11 in January. As such, sun protection is recommended.

During these summer months, most people only require a few minutes outside to absorb sufficient amounts of vitamin D. During the winter months of June and July when UV rays are averaging at 2, people should spend some time outside in the middle of the day with skin uncovered to maintain vitamin D levels.

Overexposure is not recommended to those with vitamin D deficiency.



Vitamin D in summary


Vitamin D and health go hand in hand. Fortunately, if you are living in Australia, chances are you will not be vitamin D deficient. However if you are somebody who avoids the sun at all costs or has dark skin or is obese, taking a vitamin D supplement daily may be considered to avoid future complications. These include weakened bones, risk of fractures of a weakened immune system. So get out and enjoy the sun, but do it in moderation.


Want To Learn More?


Since COVID-19 entered our lives, we have aimed to deliver some great weekly information as to how you can remain healthy, productive and in good spirits. This blog post is the latest addition to a growing library of information. Click to read more on our dedicated COVID support blogs.


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