Summer Can Be Your Best Ally: The Sun for Vitamin D

Nutrition / July 29, 2014

Did you know that if you get enough sun exposure in the summer your body will store vitamin D from the Sun to get you through the winter?

Pretty incredible isn’t it!

But with August fast approaching and your summer days getting shorter, your window for optimal vitamin D storage is shrinking.

Now if you’re worried about having to spend hours in the sun, you don’t have to be. The human body is able to produce as much as 10,000 IU to 20,000 IU of vitamin D in just 20 minutes.

The catch is that you have to be outside to reap these benefits. Getting sun through an office window or a solarium is not the same at all. Glass blocks the UVB rays while the UVA rays pass right through. In short, you’re receiving the more damaging rays without the protection of vitamin D production.

How Much Time Should You Spend in the Sun for Enough Vitamin D?

People with lighter skin and pale pigmentation will hit their optimal dosage after about 20 minutes of exposure to UVB light. After that point, vitamin D will no longer be produced and you receive no more benefits.

If you have darker skin, reaching this optimal point can take two to six times longer (or up to an hour or two), depending on your pigmentation.

Someone with light skin needs a 20 minute session at least three times per week in midday sunlight to reap vitamin d benefits.

Someone with darker skin will need to be outside significantly longer, and more often, to get the same effect.

A general rule of thumb: when your skin starts to turn a light pink, your time is up. This slight change in color will indicate that you have reached your adequate levels of vitamin D for the day. And you do not want to burn as there is no additional benefit. You will only increase your risk of skin damage if you do so.

What Time of the Day is Best?

The optimal time to be in the sun for vitamin D production is during midday for those in the northern states or Canada. That is roughly between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm. At this time, you need less exposure to produce vitamin D because UVB rays are at their most intense at this time. For those in the Southern States, the vitamin D gathering window can be extended.

How Much Vitamin D is Right for YOU?

At AlgaeCal, we believe the best source of vitamin D is the summer sun because it is nature’s primary source of vitamin D, and because the amounts are so significant compared to food and supplements. But we also understand that not everyone can fully stock up on the sun’s nourishing vitamin so supplementation is necessary (foods have very little vitamin D).

To prevent vitamin D deficiency, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) recommends a daily intake of 200 IU for adults up to 50 years of age; 400 IU for adults 51 to 70 years of age; and 600 IU for adults 71 years or older.

However, most experts in the vitamin D research community disagree sharply with the IOM and recommend that adults without adequate sun exposure consume 800 to 4000 IU daily to achieve adequate serum vitamin D levels. The IOM assures supplemental vitamin D intakes of up to 4000 IU a day is safe, while researchers maintain 10,000 IU per day have shown no danger.

Now is the Best Time to Test

Rather than arguing about what level of supplementation, if any, is needed, we recommend asking your doctor to requisition a circulating vitamin D blood test to find out exactly what level you have in your bloodstream. Guessing at your vitamin D needs is not smart, especially if you have low bone density.

After completing your test, you can talk about the results with your doctor to evaluate your current levels and what you can do to increase or maintain your levels. Our recommendation is to take the test now, so that you can make use of the summer sun to top up your vitamin d, if you are low.

In addition to vitamin D, other fat-soluble items such as K2 and A should be taken together as they interact synergistically to support strong bones. They also work well with other minerals like magnesium and zinc.

AlgaeCal Plus contains full meaningful doses of all these nutrients except vitamin A which is common in foods such as sweet potatoes and carrots. The amount of D3 in AlgaeCal Plus is 1600 IU per day which is sufficient for most, but be sure to get tested as circulating vitamin D can vary quite a lot from one person to another.

Please don’t leave vitamin D to chance. As you know, it affects just about every tissue in your body – not just your bones. So get out in the sun for vitamin D!


Sources:

  1. http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=414878
  2. http://jabfm.org/content/22/6/698.full
  3. http://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2908269/#R28
  4. http://nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/929.html
  5. http://ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16905884
  6. http://www.medicinenet.com/vitamin_d_deficiency/page4.htm
  7. http://vitamindcouncil.org/health-conditions/dental-caries/
  8. http://jabfm.org/content/22/6/698.full#ref-59

 

Monica

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