Vitamin D – The Sunshine Vitamin
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient that helps our bodies absorb calcium, maintain healthy bones, and boost our immune systems. One of the primary ways we can get it is by exposing our skin to sunlight. However, there are several factors that can impact how much we absorb from the sun, including time of day, skin type, and location. Below are the benefits of getting vitamin D from sunlight and when the best time to be outside is for optimal absorption. In Tucson, there are plenty of days of sunshine to get your D on.
Benefits of Getting Vitamin D from Sunlight
- Boosts Mood and Energy Levels: Sunlight is known to boost mood and energy levels due to its ability to stimulate the production of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that regulates mood, appetite, and sleep. Exposure to sunlight can help increase serotonin levels, which can improve mood and energy levels. If you know someone who experiences “sundowning”confusion, it is partly due to the decrease in serotonin production as the sun sets.
- Improves Bone Health: Vitamin D plays a crucial role in maintaining healthy bones. It helps our bodies absorb calcium, which is necessary for strong bones. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to a higher risk of osteoporosis, a condition that weakens bones and makes them more prone to fractures.
- Boosts Immune System: Vitamin D has been shown to play a critical role in supporting the immune system. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to an increased risk of autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Lowers Risk of Chronic Diseases: Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to a higher risk of several chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and some types of cancer. Getting adequate amounts of D from sunlight may help to reduce the risk of developing these diseases.
- Lowers Risk of Respiratory Infections: Vitamin D deficiency has been associated with an increased risk of respiratory infections, including influenza and pneumonia, which are often caused by similar viruses to C0VID-19. Several studies have also suggested that people with C0VID-19 who have low levels of Vitamin D may be more likely to experience severe symptoms and complications. One study published in JAMA found that C0VID-19 patients with sufficient levels of Vitamin D were less likely to experience complications and require hospitalization than those with deficient levels. Maintaining adequate levels of Vitamin D through safe sun exposure, diet, and supplementation helps support overall immune function and may reduce the risk of respiratory infections.
The Best Time to Be Outside for Vitamin D
The best time to be outside for optimal D absorption is during the midday hours when the sun is at its highest point in the sky. The reason for this is that UVB rays, the type of radiation that triggers vitamin D production in the skin, are most intense during this time. However, the amount of UVB radiation that reaches the earth’s surface can vary depending on several factors, including time of year, latitude, and cloud cover. UVB rays are most abundant around 10:00 am to 2:00 pm each day, and less in the morning and evening. Expose yourself to direct sunlight between these times for a short period, and you will have produced the most vitamin D.
Here Are Some Good Food Sources of Vitamin D
- Fatty fish: Salmon, tuna, and mackerel are excellent sources. A 3.5-ounce serving of cooked salmon contains around 360 IU (international units) of vitamin D, while the same amount of canned tuna has about 200 IU.
- Egg yolks: Egg yolks contain small amounts, with one large egg providing around 40 IU.
- Mushrooms: Some mushrooms can provide vitamin D when exposed to sunlight or ultraviolet light during processing. Examples include shiitake mushrooms and portobello mushrooms.
- Cod liver oil: Cod liver oil is a potent source, with one tablespoon providing around 1,300 IU.
Bio-D-Mulsion Forte supplies 2,000 IU per drop of D3 as a micro-emulsion for enhanced absorption and utilization, which is particularly important for those with malabsorption conditions. Published clinical studies have demonstrated significant improvements in 25(OH)D concentrations (202% increase) in as little as six weeks after beginning supplementation with Bio-D-Mulsion Forte.