Why Should I Consult My Doctor Before Starting Supplements
If you think you are at risk, talk to your doctor before taking supplements. Taking supplements under the care and advice of your doctor helps ensure you are getting the full benefit of a supplement. It also minimises the potential for harm that can occur from taking too much of a vitamin or from interactions between supplements and/or medications.
What Happens If You Dont Get Enough Vitamin D In Your Body
Vitamin D deficiency is a shockingly common nutritional problem, affecting nearly 1 billion around the globe. This may be partly fuelled by the fact that some groups of the population are more susceptible to low vitamin D levels.
Once again, the elderly, obese, breastfed infants, dark-skinned people, and those who suffer from celiac disease, Crohnâs disease, and other metabolic disorders may be more prone to vitamin D deficiency. If you donât go outdoors often, always wear sunblock, or live in an area that rarely receives sunshine or has only weak daytime sun, you may also be at risk of low vitamin D.
The short-term and long-term effects of vitamin D deficiency could be serious. Here are common health complications and symptoms that you will experience if you donât have enough vitamin D in your blood.
/10the Right Way To Get Vitamin D From The Sun
According to studies, 70-90 per cent of Indians are deficient in Vitamin D. Vitamin D is a unique vitamin, which is made from the cholesterol in your skin when it is exposed to sunlight. Thus, it is said that it’s important to get enough sun for maintaining the optimal vitamin D levels .
But, too much exposure to sunlight also has its own set of health risks. Here in this article, we tell you the safe way to get maximum vitamin D from the sun.
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How Much Sun Exposure Do You Need For Optimal Vitamin D Status
How Much Sun Exposure Do You Need for Optimal Vitamin D Status?
Vitamin D is essential for health and well-being. This fat-soluble vitamin enhances calcium absorption, healthy muscle function, and helps preserve bone health and prevent osteoporosis. Plus, it plays a role in modulating your immune system and keeping inflammation in check. Important stuff, right?
Despite the role vitamin D plays in health, many people dont get enough of the sunshine vitamin. Studies suggest that, depending on the study, between 18% and 40% of the population has a suboptimal vitamin D level.
Extreme vitamin D deficiency causes bone disease rickets in children. Kids with rickets have bones that are softer and weaker. The bone weakness of rickets leads to skeletal problems like bowlegs and knock knees. Severe vitamin D deficiency in adults can lead to osteomalacia, weak bones that break with little force.
The above problems occur with severe vitamin deficiency. Lesser degrees of a vitamin D shortfall can cause less severe symptoms. Some of these include muscle weakness, bone pain, and fatigue. Less severe vitamin D deficiency may be overlooked because it causes vague symptoms like fatigue or depression, and it takes a while for a low vitamin D level to lead to health problems. Unlike nutrients, you can eat a healthy diet and still be deficient in vitamin D. Many people are low in vitamin D and arent aware of it.
Is Sunbathing Good For You
While there are many health benefits of sunshine, the sun also has the power to cause damage. Moderate sun exposure is needed to produce the many health benefits the sun provides, but this can be difficult to manage. Excess sun exposure can lead to sunburn and is linked to skin cancer.
Light can be broken down into many different wavelength ranges. Different wavelengths of light lead to different physiological processes occurring in the body. Light within the UV spectrum can be broken down further in UVA, UVB, and UVC. UVA light has the longest wavelength at 320-400nm. UVB light has a wavelength between 280- 320nm. About 95% of all UVB light is absorbed by the ozone layer. UVC light has a wavelength at 100- 280nm and is very harmful to human skin. Luckily the UVC spectrum is almost completely absorbed by the Earths atmosphere.
The majority of sunlights skin-related benefits stem from the UVB spectrum. This is the spectrum of light that stimulates the production of vitamin D in the skin.
While sunbathing can stimulate the production of vitamin D and other important hormones, it also exposes you to UVA rays which can cause damage to the skin. Tanning occurs when UVA rays trigger melanocytes to produce melanin, the brown pigment that leads to tan skin. These UVA rays cause damage to the deep layers of the skin that can lead to premature skin aging and skin cancer.
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Cities And Vitamin D Production Potential
Here are date ranges for a few cities and states showing when the sun is not at a high enough angle in the sky to produce Vitamin D at any time during the day:
Los Angeles, California and Atlanta, Georgia: Both are at about 34 degrees latitude north of the equator. You cant make Vitamin D in these cities or anywhere north of them from the beginning of October until the beginning of March.
Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri, Kentucky, and Virginia, for example, are all entirely above the 35th parallel , and therefore making Vitamin D in these states during this period is also not possible.
New York City: You cant produce Vitamin D in NYC from the end of September to the end of March.
Madrid, Spain: At about the same latitude as New York City, Vitamin D production isnt possible from the end of September to the end of March.
Seattle, Washington: Its not possible to produce Vitamin D outdoors from the beginning of September to the second week of April.
Miami, Florida: You cant make Vitamin D from the end of October to the middle of February.
London, England: For more than 8 months of the year Vitamin D production is not possible: from the middle of August until late April.
Stockholm, Sweden: For 10 months of the year it isnt possible to produce Vitamin D in the sun, with late May to late July the only months where it is potentially possible.
Los Angeles, CA and Atlanta, GA: On the summer solstice , Vitamin D production is possible from about 10 AM to 4 PM.
Sunlight And Vitamin D: Autoimmunity Protection
There are a variety of association studies demonstrating that being born or living near the equator reduces risk of several autoimmune diseases.,- Being born and living for the first 10 y at a latitude of ~40° North compared with ~33° North increases a person’s risk of developing multiple sclerosis by 100% .,, Munger et al. made the observation that high circulating levels of 25D were associated with a lower risk of multiple sclerosis and that women who had an intake of vitamin D of 400 IU vitamin D per day reduced their risk of developing multiple sclerosis by more than 40%.
Figure 62. Prevalence of multiple sclerosis by latitude in the United States according to data from Noonan et al. and Wallin et al. . The dashed line is a quadratic fit to the data from Noonan et al., and the solid line is a fit to the data from Wallin et al. Reproduced with permission from.
A plot of the incidence of type 1 diabetes vs. latitude demonstrated an impressive U-shaped curve. Children younger than 14 y during 19901994 in 51 regions worldwide demonstrated a 1015 fold increase in risk for developing type 1 diabetes if they were born in far Northern and Southern latitudes .
Figure 64. Incidence rate of type 1 diabetes diagnosed at or before 14 y of age in Finland. Reproduced with permission from.
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Why Is Vitamin D So Important
Spending time outdoors is often difficult for those of us who spend most of our days under fluorescent lights. But the truth is, keeping cooped up indoors all day may be harmful to your health! The bad news is that if you dont get outside often and expose your skin to the sun, it may result in low vitamin D. Why?
If you dont get enough vitamin D, it can affect the way you feel and how well you perform, which makes this vitamin crucial for athletes. Specifically, vitamin D helps to:
- Increase bone health along with the help of calcium
- Increase muscle mass and strength
- Increase the size and number of the muscle fibers that are used for short bursts of speed and power
- Improve lower body strength
- Build strength in your legs
- Prevent falls
- Regulate the immune system and protect against certain diseases
According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey , the majority of Americans are deficient in vitamin D. The recommended daily intake is 600 IU, but if your vitamin D levels are low, you may need to take much more. The only way to know whether your vitamin D levels are adequate is to have your blood levels checked. InsideTracker blood analysis includes vitamin D and will tell you not just whether your levels are normal, but whether they are optimal to promote a healthy body and life.
How Much Sunlight Do I Need To Get Vitamin D
Who doesnt love the sunshine? When absence makes the heart grow fonder of it in the dead of winter, we miss and love the sunshine that much more.
Sunlight exposure is the most natural way to absorb vitamin D, which is produced when the suns ultraviolet B rays reach cholesterol in the skin cells, setting off vitamin D synthesis.
Vitamin D helps prevent bone loss, depression, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and hypertension, among other health benefits. People deficient in the sunshine vitamin may experience muscle weakness and bone pain.
The Skin Cancer Foundation states that people severely deficient in vitamin D may experience slower growth, bone softening and weakened bone structure.
But the line between safe and dangerous levels of sunlight is unfortunately very thin.
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Tips For Optimizing Your Natural Vitamin D Production
The sun offers you free vitamin D! Take advantage of this with a few tips for squeezing more vitamin D from the sun.
These tips for absorbing more vitamin D from the sun are especially beneficial to anyone who lives further from the equator, is older in age, has darker skin, cannot get sun during midday, or cant afford supplements or vacations to sunnier weather in winter seasons.
In Part 4 of this series, we are going to examine the little known connection between vitamin D, sleep disorders, and Alzheimers disease. You wont want to miss this It could be the missing link to your best health yet!
What Is A Healthy Level Of Vitamin D
If youre having blood drawn for your annual checkup, ask your doctor to test your vitamin D level. On your lab report, heres what your number means.
Below 30: Deficient. Talk to your doctor about supplements.
30 to 50: Generally inadequate for bone and overall health.
50 and above: Adequate .
125 and above: Too high .
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How Much Sun Exposure For My Vitamin D Levels
A common topic raised during workplace skin screening sessions is Vitamin D and sun exposure. Our skin screening nurses are often asked how much sun exposure should I be getting for my Vitamin D levels?
Here we explore the truth around Vitamin D and the recommended sun exposure levels in Australia.
Is Sunlight Good For You
A large body of research demonstrates the importance of sunlight for supporting health. Studies have shown a correlation between lack of sunlight and the occurrence of several chronic health problems:
Numerous studies have demonstrated a reduced incidence of multiple sclerosis and type 1 diabetes with increased sun exposure.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. and increased sun exposure is correlated to reduced cardiovascular risk factors such as hypertension.
Cardiovascular complications and associated death occurs significantly more frequently in the winter than summer.
Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the U.S. Many studies have found that increased sun exposure is correlated with reduced occurrence and mortality from multiple forms of cancer.
Autoimmune, neurological, musculoskeletal and cardiovascular disease, hypertension and common cancers have all been linked to a lack of sun exposure and vitamin D.
A 20-year study following 29,518 subjects found that those avoiding sun exposure were twice as likely to die from all causes. This research corroborates several previous studies from around the world that prove diminished sun exposure is a risk factor for all-cause mortality.
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Influence Of Latitude And Season On Vitamin D Status
It is well documented that seasonal differences in cutaneous vitamin D3 production has a dramatic influence on both childrens and adults vitamin D status . A study of 7437 Caucasian men and women from the 1958 British birth cohort at age 45 y revealed that the peak blood levels for 25D were observed in September and the nadir was observed in February . A similar observation was made in postmenopausal women in Denmark. Those who had regular sun exposure achieved a blood level of 25D of ~45 ng/mL compared with women who avoided direct sun exposure had a 25D of ~23 ng/mL. This was also supported by the fact that hours of sun exposure was directly related to circulating concentrations of 25D .
Figure 44. Geometric mean monthly variation in serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D concentrations in men and women in the 1958 British birth cohort at age 45 y. The interaction between sex and month was significant . n per sex and month ranged from 17 to 340: 98 in December 2003 for women and < 100 for both sexes in December 2002 , January 2004 , February 2004 , and March 2004 . Reproduced with permission from.
Figure 45. Seasonal fluctuation of serum 25D in healthy perimenopausal Danish women and relationship between hours of sunshine and serum 25D. Seasonal fluctuation of serum 25D according to frequency of sun exposure. , regular sun exposure , occasional sun exposure , avoiding direct sun exposure. Reproduced with permission from.
Vitamin D Production And Sun Exposure
Of course, even if you are producing Vitamin D, you dont make an endless amount of it. After too much sun exposure your body stops producing Vitamin D, and excess sun exposure beyond this amount can even block Vitamin D production.
It has been roughly estimated that just 15 minutes of sun in the middle of the day in the summer, only a few times per week, can be sufficient for you to produce your complete Vitamin D needs. This is for people with fair skin in ideal conditions darker-skinned individuals may need longer exposure time. The time of day , altitude , and cloud cover and pollution also impact the time it takes to produce Vitamin D. You can find some websites and phone apps that will help you calculate Vitamin D production more precisely. Just understand that the longer you are in the sun the more skin damage you will sustain.
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Vitamin D Source: Supplements
Besides eating Vitamin D-rich foods, taking a Vitamin D supplement could help you get the recommended amount in a sun-safe manner. Nature Made supplements come in a variety of forms, including tablets, softgels, and gummies. Doctors typically recommend supplements for people with darker skin tones or those with fat absorption issues, lactose intolerance, and milk allergies.6
How Much Melanin You Have
Having a darker skin color does affect vitamin D production, however, the reduction is only slightly less than those with fair skin. Melanin in the skin effectively absorbs UVB rays from the sun, reducing the amount that can be used to convert vitamin D2 to D3. Those with darker skin tones simply need to spend a little longer in the sun to produce higher levels of vitamin D . Be careful, though! Even very dark skin can still burn when exposed to the summer sun unprotected for long periods of time.
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With Heart Deaths Linked To Low Vitamin D Levels An Expert Offers Advice On Getting Just Enough Sun
Coinciding with the first week of summer, a study published today underscores the importance of getting adequate amounts of sunlight for its vitamin D-boosting benefits. The research, published in theArchives of Internal Medicine, shows that those with the lowest vitamin D levels have more than double the risk of dying from heart disease and other causes over an eight-year period compared with those with the highest vitamin D levels. The researchers cite decreased outdoor activity as one reason that people may become deficient in vitamin D. Another recent study found an increased risk of heart attacks in those with low vitamin D levels.
In the winter, its impossible to produce vitamin D from the sun if you live north of Atlanta because the sun never gets high enough in the sky for its ultraviolet B rays to penetrate the atmosphere. But summer is a great time to stock up on the nutrient. When the suns UV-B rays hit the skin, a reaction takes place that enables skin cells to manufacture vitamin D. If youre fair skinned, experts say going outside for 10 minutes in the midday sunin shorts and a tank top with no sunscreenwill give you enough radiation to produce about 10,000 international units of the vitamin. Dark-skinned individuals and the elderly also produce less vitamin D, and many folks dont get enough of the nutrient from dietary sources like fatty fish and fortified milk.