Soak up the rays: what’s your limit?
Summer is a time to get outside and bump up our sunshine vitamin. Humans are built to generate Vitamin D after being exposed to sunshine, which is why it’s called the sunshine vitamin. Vitamin D is a key ingredient in helping the body absorb calcium while getting muscles and nerves to function properly. Lack of the sunshine vitamin can cause rickets in the young and osteoporosis in the old but researches have also discovered links to other disturbing health problems including a higher risk of certain cancers, dementia, diabetes and arthritis along with a weakened immune system.
During the summer it’s important to get outside but with our increased awareness about the dangers of too much UV and skin cancer, how do you strike the right balance? Turns out, it all depends on your skin type.
An important study by Professor Esteban Parra at the University of Toronto concluded that skin tone does need to be considered when talking about vitamin D. The recommended 15 minutes is fine for people with extremely light skin (think British Isles glow-in-the-dark) who burn after 20 minutes of sunbathing. However, anyone with African or East Asian ancestry needs to spend more time in the sun since darker skin has more pigment and takes longer to absorb Vitamin D. The Vitamin D council has a chart with the safe times listed for each skin type.
Don’t stress about working indoors during the summers because it turns out Canadians are still Vitamin D deficient. Our climate and short summers make it extremely difficult to get our daily intake so it’s no surprise that many Canadians are deficient. A recent survey from Health Canada found that over 1.1 million people are considered vitamin D deficient. That’s why most health practitioners recommend a Vitamin D supplement of some kind. The recommended dosage is 400 IU per day for infants, 600 IU for children and adults and 800 IU for adults over 70. Always consult your doctor before taking a Vitamin D supplement because too much can be harmful to your health.
Read more about Vitamin D and healthy sun exposure with our article on sunscreen.
- D drops - liquid Vitamin D
- Jamieson - gummies, chewable cap and softgels
- Nutirpur bambousil - skin care