Vitamin D – the sunshine vitamin

Many people are concerned about their vitamin D levels and not sure how much sun exposure they need in the UK.
It is estimated that an unbelievable 90% of our vitamin D requirements come from sunshine.

Vitamin D helps to maintain calcium levels in the body. Exposure to the sun, to the hands, arms, and face between the hours of 10am and 3pm for approximately 5-15 minutes, before the point of sunburn two to three times per week satisfies the vitamin D requirements of a person with average skin type. However, long exposures increase the risk of sunburn and skin cancer, without providing any extra Vitamin D benefit. Little and often sun exposure is best. (Holick, NICE guidelines 2010

During winter months in the UK, there is not enough natural sunshine for vitamin D to be converted and the body relies on vitamin D stored in the body built up in the summer months, vitamin supplements and food sources. If sufficient levels of vitamin D are reached in the summer months, possible supplementation and dietary sources can maintain these levels in winter.

Dietary sources:
Vitamin D is found in only a few foods, with fatty fish and fish oils, liver, meat, mushrooms and eggs being the main natural sources. Sunshine is required for the body to manufacture vitamin D in the body.
The potential contribution of diet to vitamin D supply is a topic of debate and the main reliable source is sunshine.

Vitamin D is essential for strong bones and healthy teeth, the prevention of diseases such as rickets and osteoporosis. Vitamin D deficiency contributes to seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Some studies have suggested that low vitamin D levels are associated with other chronic diseases.
Vitamin D the sunshine vitamin

A simple pinprick blood test for vitamin D levels is available at the Body-Balance nutrition clinic.