Get Your Sunshine Vitamin On: The Benefits of Vitamin D

The list of proven benefits of vitamin D are endless. Vitamin D improves sleep, reduces stress, maintains strong bones, helps keep weight off, strengthens our immune systems, and also fights off depression. All of which can you give you a longer and more robust quality of life.

There’s good reason why vitamin D is called “the sunshine vitamin.” The sun is your best source of vitamin D. Here are some facts, courtesy of Healthline.com, on how to safely get that all important “sunshine vitamin” while maintaining a safe level of sun exposure at the same time.

  • Midday, especially during summer, is the best time to get sunlight. The sun is at its strongest around noon, which means a strong dose of vitamin D, with less time in the sun.
  • Just 13 minutes of afternoon sunlight exposure during the summer, three times per week, is enough to maintain healthy levels of vitamin D.
  • Studies estimate that darker-skinned people may need anywhere from 30 minutes to three hours longer to get sufficient vitamin D, compared to lighter-skinned people. For that reason, darker-skinned people have a higher risk of deficiency. If you have dark skin, you may need to spend a bit more time in the sun to get your daily dose of vitamin D.
  • Some scientists recommend exposing around a third of the area of your skin to the sun. According to this recommendation, wearing a tank top and shorts for 10–30 minutes three times per week during the summer should be sufficient for most people.
  • While sunscreen is essential for protecting your skin against sunburns and skin cancer, studies show that sunscreen of SPF 30 or more reduces vitamin D production in the body by about 95–98%. That said, applying sunscreen is crucial while spending time in the sun.
  • It’s best to apply sunscreen after 10–30 minutes of unprotected sun exposure to avoid the harmful consequences of excess sunlight and experts recommend reapplying sunscreen every two to three hours you spend in the sun, especially if you’re sweating or bathing.
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