What you need to know about safe sun

September 28, 2015

Just 15 to 20 minutes with your limbs exposed will keep your vitamin D at adequate levels, which is important for your overall health. While you want to spend time in the sun, avoid extreme heat, which, in contrast, is quite dangerous for your heart.

What you need to know about safe sun

Natural vitamin D

  • You can't overdose on vitamin D from the sun, and that is the best source.
  • More than 90 per cent of the vitamin D in our bodies is made in our skin when it is exposed to the ultraviolet light in the sun's rays.
  • Once our skin has absorbed enough UVB rays to make vitamin D, the conversion process shuts down. Not much is needed to achieve the desired effect.
  • As little as 15 to 20 minutes daily with your arms, hands and legs exposed will keep your vitamin D at adequate levels.
  • That is why some doctors now recommend spending 15 minutes toward midday outdoors without sunscreen (except on your face), several times a week — unless your skin is very fair and burns during even brief exposure.
  • If you are black, Asian or Indian, your skin might not be as efficient at absorbing the UVB rays that trigger vitamin D production, and you may need twice the time in the sun.
  • If the recommended time is up and you plan to be out longer, put on plenty of sunscreen to protect yourself against the sun damage that can lead to skin cancers.

Supplement vitamin D

  • By getting enough vitamin D from the sun in the spring, summer and autumn, you will enter the first weeks of winter in good form.
  • But from then on, you must rely on eating the right kinds of food that contain the vitamin in your diet (and perhaps a daily supplement) until spring — and sunlight — return.
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