Oc­to­ber

Good Health Choices - - BE INFORMED -

Get out­side to boost your vi­ta­min D lev­els

Vi­ta­min D is a unique vi­ta­min. Like other vi­ta­mins it is es­sen­tial to life, how­ever it’s the only one that we don’t have to get from what we eat – only about 5 to 10

per­cent of our vi­ta­min D re­quire­ment comes from food. While there’s some vi­ta­min D in foods such as oily fish, liver and mush­rooms that have been ex­posed to sun­light, the ma­jor­ity of our vi­ta­min D comes from the sun. Hence it is often

called the ‘sun­shine’ vi­ta­min. When the skin is ex­posed to sun­light, ul­tra­vi­o­let B (UVB) rays pen­e­trate the skin and trig­ger a bio­chem­i­cal re­ac­tion that con­verts choles­terol in the skin to vi­ta­min

D. As your life­style, your job, where you live, the weather and/or the sea­son all af­fect how much sun you’re ex­posed to, they also af­fect how much vi­ta­min D you’re get­ting. In win­ter, it takes a longer du­ra­tion of ex­po­sure to the sun for our skin to syn­the­sise enough vi­ta­min D. How­ever, many peo­ple now work in­doors all day, and when they are out­side in win­ter they tend to be cov­ered up to keep warm so hardly any skin is ex­posed to the UVB rays. So, if you don’t spend much time

out­doors in the mid­dle of the day dur­ing the win­ter months, you may be at in­creased risk of vi­ta­min D de­fi­ciency in spring. As such, it can be good to boost

your vi­ta­min D lev­els as spring rolls around. How­ever, these rays can also cause sun­burn, which can in­crease the risk of skin cancer, so it is im­por­tant to en­sure you don’t get burnt. Out­side of win­ter, it’s best to avoid sun ex­po­sure in the

mid­dle of the day when the UV in­dex is high­est. It’s also es­sen­tial that you bal­ance the risks as­so­ci­ated with sun ex­po­sure with

con­sid­er­a­tion of your per­sonal and fam­ily his­tory of skin can­cers and other in­di­vid­ual fac­tors such as whether you take med­i­ca­tions that are pho­to­sen­si­tis­ing.

'the ma­jor­ity of our vi­ta­min d comes from

the sun’

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