Why Vitamin D is Called the ‘Sunshine Vitamin’

Vitamin D plays a vital role in the body and is important for many different areas of health.

The many benefits of vitamin D

  • Maintenance of normal bones and teeth
  • Supports normal function of the immune system
  • Important for normal cell division and normal muscle function

How do we get the vitamin D our bodies need?

When it comes to getting enough vitamin D, looking at the food on our plates is a good place to start.

Alongside rich and oily foods, there are other instances where foods are ‘fortified’ with vitamin D. Cereal, margarine, bread and yoghurt are among a few sources to include within a healthy and balanced diet.

Combining these food types, with regular (but not excessive) sunlight and a vitamin D supplement can help to safeguard the body’s level of vitamin D.

Our bodies create Vitamin D when exposed to direct sunlight

The main reason vitamin D is nicknamed the ‘Sunshine Vitamin’, is due to our bodies ability to produce vitamin D when exposed to direct UV sunlight.

This means that those who find it difficult to get enough exposure to regular sunlight, can also experience difficulties enjoying the health benefits of vitamin D.

Did you know: In the UK, for the majority of the year it’s difficult to get enough vitamin D from the sun alone, as it’s simply just not strong enough.

However, the NHS reports that in the UK, a full 20 minutes in the sun between late March and early September is enough, providing it’s between the hours 11:00 and 15:00

These are the months with the longest hours of daylight, so it’s important to make the most of them.

It is also worth keeping in mind that using a high factor sunscreen (whilst vital for overall skin health) will go some way reduce the skin's ability to produce vitamin D on its own. This is why a vitamin D supplement is recommended for most people in conjunction with a healthy, varied and balanced diet.

How much sun does our skin need to produce enough vitamin D?

The amount of sun needed by each individual varies, depending on skin type, age, lifestyle and occupation. If you’re worried about your levels of vitamin D, it’s worth speaking to your doctor to find out if any of the above factors could be limiting your levels.

Can we get enough vitamin D from sunlight alone?

Whilst it’s true that we can technically get enough vitamin D from sun exposure alone, the whole body must be exposed to the sun for at least 30 minutes to produce the required amount in the skin.

People who work indoors or spend time in environments where sunlight is reduced, can experience lower vitamin D levels in the body.

Taking a supplement such as our Ultra Vitamin D as part of a healthy, balanced diet, can help provide effective levels of the preferred form of vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) and optimum level British Pharmacopoeia Quality vitamin D3.

Did you know: D3 is the preferred form of vitamin D because it is the specific form made in the human body and therefore more effective than D2, which is often found in other supplements.

Some people can produce Vitamin D more easily than others

The skin pigmentation of those with darker skin tones can help to protect them from UV rays, but can also reduce the amount of vitamin D produced by the skin.

In these cases, individuals with darker skin (such as those of African or Asian descent), may need to spend more time in the sun to produce the same amount of Vitamin D as someone with lighter skin.

Excessive sun exposure can be harmful for any skin type; for darker skin in particular longer exposure times may be required to produce sufficient vitamin D. In these cases, it may be preferable for overall health to take supplement containing vitamin D instead.

Did you know: It’s the melanin within certain skin types which reduces or inhibits the skin’s ability to produce vitamin D.

Taking a daily vitamin supplement such as our Ultra Vitamin D every day can help to ensure that you and your family are maintaining their levels of vitamin D. If you’re concerned that you’re not getting enough vitamin D then it’s worth speaking to a health professional who will be able to guide you in the right direction.  

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Alexandra Phillips

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