How much sun exposure do you need to get good levels of Vitamin D?

Posted by & filed under Health and Fitness.

I love this clip because it makes clear three  things.  What Vitamin D deficiency can lead to,just how many people are low in this vitamin and how hard it is to get enough D from either the sun or from the diet.  It is clearly made in Florida where the sun shines all year round; the man in the doctor’s office plays regular rounds of golf – so he is outside for hours and still he has very low D levels.  What chance have we got in the UK or places further away from the equator than Florida – like New York?

The best source of Vitamin D is the sun. To get sufficient D from it you have to live at the latitude of Lisbon or closer to the equator and be out in it for an hour in the middle of the day in shorts and T-shirt.  (Obviously you must not burn since this causes skin cancer, so tolerance must be built up carefully.)  Since this is difficult to achieve, to get sufficient D we have to supplement with it.  The supplement must be D3 and not D2 since the body does not convert D2 into the needed D3 easily, so most D2 passes on through without making a difference.

Vitamin D can be obtained from dietary sources, but not in big enough quantities to maintain good health. The sources of D in the diet are principally oily fish. Foods are sometimes fortified with Vitamin D – but usually this is D2, the unavailable form.

The clip makes mention of the importance of testing D levels. Since too high levels of Vitamin D are toxic, then this is a good thing to do. In the states, this test costs about $12. In the UK it costs about £60! The test will have to be repeated at regular intervals to check the D levels are actually rising – for the vast majority of people, modern foods and lifestyle wreak havoc with the guts, making uptake of nutrients less than optimal – and to adjust your level of supplementation accordingly. If the test costs $12 this is not unreasonable. But £60 a shot is distressing.

High doses of Vitamin D can ameliorate a sun burn.

Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)