Updated: Jun 24, 2021
In my previous post I discussed the health benefits of vitamin D and how it affects different body systems. In this post I will discuss different sources of vitamin D and what I consider optimal vitamin D levels.
Exposing our skin to ultraviolet B rays from the sun is a great way we can increase our vitamin D levels. Factors that influence how much vitamin D we can actually get from the sun include age, skin type, geographic location and the time of year. One study showed that someone living in Florida with Fitzpatrick sun-reactive skin type III (darker white skin, tans after initial burn) would require 6 minutes of sun exposure to synthesize 1,000 iu of vitamin D in the summer and 15 minutes in the winter. On the other hand, someone living in Boston who would need 15 minutes in the summer and 29 minutes in winter to synthesize the same amount of vitamin D.
The downfall with sun exposure is weather conditions and the time of year can limit how much vitamin D we can get from the sun, and we often need more vitamin D than it can provide. Sun exposure comes with risks as sun sensitivity, and being exposed to too much can increase the risk for melanoma and other skin cancers.