How to get Vitamin D – the most effective way
Vitamin D is crucial for many of our body’s functions, but most of us aren’t getting enough of it.
Vitamin D is probably most well-known as a necessary nutrient for bone health. In the early 19th Century, the link between vitamin D and sunlight was discovered when rickets, a disease that leads to skeletal deformities, was rampant amongst children forced to work indoors in factories for hours and hours a day, with little to no time in the sunlight. The treatment was exposure to ultraviolet light, and over time their rickets would disappear. (SCIENTIFIC ARTICLE FOR MORE INFORMATION)
This and many other discoveries led to vitamin D being named “the sunshine vitamin” because the sun is the best source of this nutrient. Ultraviolet light (UV), a component of sunlight, activates the process by converting a type of cholesterol in our skin into vitamin D3. It enters our bloodstream, passes through our liver and kidneys, and gets converted into metabolites. After they’ve been activated, the vitamin D metabolites go to work helping our bodies absorb necessary minerals, such as calcium and phosphorous from our food, which the body uses to make healthy bones.
Vitamin D also provides other benefits too, such as building a strong immune system and reducing the risk of nearly every known modern chronic disease. More on this in another post…
When is the best time to be in the sun, to gain the most vitamin D?
UV light is at its highest levels between 10am to 2pm. This is the ideal time to expose your skin and build up your vitamin D levels but you need to first prepare, to maximize the benefit and minimize the harmful effects of UV. The best way to prepare is to get the morning light. This light stimulates our circadian rhythm, activating all of our organs and bodily systems, and prepares our skin to receive sunlight. Then, when we are in the sun in the middle of the day, for a short period of time, our body is functioning optimally, and the skin is prepared for its UV exposure.
How long should I stay in the sun?
It depends on your skin color. Those with darker skin have higher levels of melanin, therefore greater natural sun protection. But this also means it takes longer for UV to penetrate the skin, requiring more time in the sun to synthesize the same amount of vitamin D as the lighter skin types, who absorb vitamin D faster, but also burn quicker.
For lighter skins, 10 - 20 minutes in midday sun is sufficient to absorb enough vitamin D for the day.
For darker skins, that time is 30 - 40 minutes in the midday sun.
Prepare your skin first
But remember, for best absorption and also safe sun protection, prepare yourself first by getting some early morning sun. And if you want to level up your health…get up earlier and watch the sunrise to reset your circadian rhythm. Not only will this help with increased vitamin D levels, but you’ll sleep better and have more energy to take on the day.