Vitamin D is essential for good health.
Medical studies around the world have proven the benefits of Vitamin D in association with:
- Cellular Health: including breast, colon and prostate cancers
- Bone Health: including osteoporosis, hip fractures, osteomalacia and hip fractures
- Organ Health: including high blood pressure, hypertension and heart disease
- Mental Health: including SAD, PMS, depression and general mood
- Auto-immune Diseases: including multiple sclerosis, Type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis
- Skin Disorders: including psoriasis
- Obesity and exercise programmes
- Sunlight is the most effective way for the body to manufacture Vitamin D. Yet in the UK and Ireland, our bodies can only manufacture Vitamin D from exposure to the sun during the months of May to October. Outside of these months, the sun is simply not strong enough.
Considered by many to be the foremost authority on Vitamin D, Dr Michael Holick (Professor of medicine, physiology and biophysics at the Boston University School of Medicine, one of the USA's top universities), recommends a daily amount of 1,000 IU is necessary to maintain a healthy level. It is very difficult to eat enough Vitamin D rich foods on a daily basis to achieve these levels. Most multi-vitamin supplements only provide 400IU of Vitamin D.
Unprotected UV exposure to 25% of 1 MED, 2-3 times a week is recommended by Dr Holick to ensure sufficient Vitamin D levels. Depending on skin type, this is the equivalent of about 5 minutes of unprotected UV exposure 2-3 times a week.
In natural sunlight the word 'unprotected' is very important, as SPF creams reduce the ability of the body to produce Vitamin D from UV exposure by up to 97%.
ARE YOU MORE AT RISK FROM VITAMIN D DEFICIENCY?
The older you are, the harder it is for your skin to make Vitamin D from sunlight.
The more time you spend indoors during daylight hours, the less opportunity you have to make Vitamin D.
In the UK and Ireland with its relatively long winters, you get less sun over the course of the year because the sunlight isn't strong enough to make Vitamin D in the winter.
People with very dark skin, especially those of Asian and Afro-Caribbean descent find it difficult to make Vitamin D from limited sunlight.
Certain cultures require their women to cover themselves entirely in heavy clothing that blocks out the sun.
For people with Crohn's disease, cystic fibrosis and certain other intestinal diseases, as the intestine cannot efficiently absorb Vitamin D from the diet or supplement.
YOU CAN GET THE REQUIRED AMOUNT OF VITAMIN D THAT YOU NEED FROM DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS ALONE
Most multivitamins only contain 400IU of Vitamin D. Vitamin D experts recommended a daily supplement of 5,000IU per day to obtain and maintain optimum levels. Vitamin D supplements provide the same benefits as sunshine but it taken in too large a dose, can cause Vitamin D toxicity, whereas sun exposure does not.
YOU PRODUCE VITAMIN D IN THE WINTER TIME
You cannot make Vitamin D in the UK and Ireland or any location above 40 degrees north in the winter months. However, if you get moderate exposure to the sun between May and October, the excess Vitamin D is stored in the body's fat, which can be released during the winter.
THE ELDERLY DON'T NEED AS MUCH UV EXPOSURE AS THE YOUNG
Your ability to manufacture Vitamin D diminishes fourfold from age twenty to age seventy. Older people are especially receptive to the alarmist warnings about excessive sun exposure and often decrease their exposure at a time when they need it most. Since Vitamin D is directly linked to bone health, this age group should be more concerned about fracturing a hip because they are Vitamin D deficient, than the risk of getting wrinkles or skin cancer.