Sunshine

Enjoy a little Sunshine

Vitamin D forms in the skin when it is exposed to UVB radiation that is present in sunlight. While there are some foods that contain Vitamin D, it is difficult to get the required amount from diet alone. As we’ve already mentioned, vitamin D is essential to bone health. It increases the amount of calcium that’s absorbed from the gut, adjusts the amount of calcium that’s in the blood and strengthens the skeleton. Most of us get our vitamin D from sunlight exposure.

In Australia we need to balance the risk of skin cancer from too much sun exposure with maintaining adequate Vitamin D levels. Click here to see the answers to some common sunshine questions.

 

So how much sunshine do you need,to get enough vitamin D?

It depends on the seasons, where you are and time of day - generally:

  • In summer - for moderately fair-skinned people, a walk with arms exposed for 5–10 minutes mid morning or mid afternoon in summer is beneficial for Vitamin D production. 
  • In winter – the same moderately fair skinned person needs to be exposed for longer so the recommendation is 7–30 minutes (depending on the latitude of where you live) at noon. You need to expose as much bare skin as feasible, to maintain adequate vitamin D levels in the body.

Exposure to sunlight is recommended at 10am and 2pm in summer (11am or 3pm in daylight saving time). Avoid peak UV periods due to the cancerous effects of sunlight at that time.

 

For more information about the differing times needed to get enough vitamin D, in different locations and seasons click here.

For some handy tips on sunshine click here.

 

Disclaimer: There is a school of thought that people with darker skin require greater sun exposure for vitamin D absorption. eg 15 - 60 minutes during summer and 20 minutes to 3 hours during winter (depending on the latitude). At present the Healthy Bones Australia Calculator does not take this into account