Nutrition Tips - Are You Getting Enough Sun?


Are you getting enough Sun?
Vitamin D Advice

Living in ‘the Sunshine State’ it may come as a surprise that a reasonable portion of our population is actually Vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D we typically get from exposure to the sun but is also available through food sources. An increasing number of us are not experiencing regular sun exposure as we spend daylight hours working indoors & in fact avoid sun exposure due to skin cancer risk. However, there is now also mounting evidence suggesting that a lack of Vitamin D may also increase the risk of some cancers.

So what is vitamin D?
It is one of our fat soluble vitamins and through various pathways and mechanisms assists the body with calcium absorption, regulation and healthy bone development.

What happens if I don’t get enough?
Long term deficiency results in impaired bone mineralization and can lead to thin, brittle or soft bones. Long term deficiency can result in diseases such as rickets (impeded growth at childhood), osteomalacia (bone thinning disorder) or osteoporosis (reduced bone density).

Where can I get it?
Vitamin D is not highly abundant in food sources however the best sources are fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines and cod liver oil. The easiest way to get your required intake of Vitamin D is from the sun. It takes just a few minutes in the peak daylight hours with your arms, hands and face exposed to get the amount of Vitamin D required daily.

So how do I get enough Vitamin D without increasing my risk of skin cancers?
Eat plenty of oily fish – not only will it provide you with vitamin D but it will supply you with essential omega 3 fatty acids.
If you spend most of your daylight hours in the office, try to get out of the office in your lunch break - go for a walk or eat your lunch in a park.
Instead of exercising inside in a gym, go outside for a walk/run.
Remember 5-10 minutes of sun exposure is all you need to meet your requirements. If you’re out for longer than this don’t forget to cover up and use sunscreen

What about in Winter, do I need more?
The recommendation is for 10-30 minutes exposure two times per week, in between 10am-3pm.

Can’t I just take a vitamin D supplement?
You can, however vitamin D is better absorbed via the skin than the digestive tract so a small amount of sun exposure tends to work best.

Should I get my vitamin D levels checked?
If you are concerned, ask your doctor for a blood test.

How do I know if I’m deficient in vitamin D?
Often times you won’t until you have a bone issue. In fact, even those who we would presume to have high vitamin D levels such as cricketers or outdoor workers, sometimes have low vitamin D levels. We do not yet know why some people maintain good vitamin D levels while others don’t.

Vitamin D is an important micronutrient that acts more like a hormone than a vitamin, so make sure you’re getting your twice-weekly dose of vitamin D for strong bones, reducing your cancer risk & lifting your mood!