Thursday, May 3, 2012

How Much Sun Do You Need?

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that we do not readily get from food.  It is better to synthesize your own Vitamin D from adequate sun exposure than to take a supplement, eat oily fish or fortified manufactured foods.

How much sunlight should you get to make your daily allowance of Vitamin D?

That actually depends on a few factors: your skin type, the daily UV Index, among other things (smog, cloud cover, where you are in relation to the equator).

This chart can help you figure it out:

Chart Courtesy of: T. Colin Campbell Foundation
To determine the UV Index, visit the EPA website, input your zip code and get that day's UVI for your area.  The EPA even has free SmartPhone Apps!

Not into calculating?

No worries, just strive to get 10-15 minutes of sun, 3 times per week on at least your face, hands & arms (sans sunscreen).  This will give you the equivalent of taking between 15,000 and 20,000 IU’s of Vitamin D - ensuring your Vitamin D levels stay where they should.

It's important to get your sun without sunscreen.  "A sunscreen with SPF of 8 reduces the ability of the skin to make Vitamin D by 92.5%. Sunscreen with SPF 15 reduces it by 99%."  No, this duration of exposure is not going to lead to skin cancer.  But, keep in mind that you're looking to be slightly pink, not red so, don't over do it.

Can't get any sun six months out of the year where you live?  

Me neither!  But, that's OK because vitamin D is fat-soluble, meaning your body will store it until it needs it.  If you get the recommended exposure during the sunny months, you will have enough Vitamin D to get you through the dreary months.

Keep it Healthy!
The Hoff


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