Simply STEP outside when the sun is out and soak-up some rays. It’s literally that simple. BUT you have to have your skin EXPOSED to get it for FREE! Research shows that more than 50% of the population of people living in sunny areas like Florida, Texas and California have a Vitamin D deficiency.
The problem has to do with the fact that most people walk outside with almost every part of their skin covered up. They have sunglasses, hats, long sleeves, long pants and or sunscreen covering almost every inch of their body. The sun can’t penetrate your clothes!
The GOOD and BAD Sunrays
The sun produces two types of sunrays, UVA and UVB rays. Think of them like the different bacteria in our gut. We have both ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria in our intestines, the same way we have sunrays, which have both ‘Good’ and ‘Bad’ effects on our body.
The UVA rays are more damaging to our skin and contribute to sunburns and skin cancer. The important thing to know about UVA rays is that they can penetrate the clouds, which means you can still get a sunburn when it is cloudy, so be aware.
The UVB rays are more beneficial because they activate the production of vitamin D. The big takeaway here is that UVB rays get filtered out by the clouds. So, don’t confuse yourself in thinking you are getting lots of Free vitamin D, if it’s cloudy.
Sunscreens are highly recommended if you are going to be out in the sun for any length of time, like the beach, park or ball game. But if you are only going to be in-and-out of the sun for 20-30 minutes, you more than likely don’t need any sunscreen. It’s in those 20 to 30 minute time slots that you can easily get some Free vitamin D.
Yes, your shade of skin is a factor, in that the darker your skin, the more time you need in the sun to get the same benefit of someone who is lighter skin. Maybe that is why more people living closer to the equator have darker skin, whereas those living further away from the equator have lighter skin?
Now, is there a better time of day to get your FREE vitamin D? Yes, the closer you are to midday, the more Free vitamin D you can soak up. But that doesn’t mean you don’t get any benefit at 10 am or 4 pm! It’s just not as much, and for some people who can’t get out around midday, for whatever reason. You can easily catch-up on the weekend by going outside.
Regarding food and vitamin D, I’m only talking about how to get the FREE stuff. Suffice it to say, the only foods that give you vitamin D are fatty fish like cod, mackerel, and tuna, along with egg yolk. All the other foods that claim to have vitamin D has been fortified by the manufacturer.
Did you know that about a hundred years ago, we started fortifying milk with vitamin D? It was because so many kids were vitamin D deficient, simply because they were living in urban areas, with all the tall buildings around them never actually allowed them to feel the sun hit their skin.
What about SunGlasses?
This is one of those more controversial questions, because some people will say, no or yes. Here are my thoughts. Research does show that the pathways for producing vitamin D occurs in the skin, which says your eyes don’t matter. However, could there be some other activating connection that starts in the eyes, we haven’t discovered?
Let’s chew on a few other thoughts. We’ve gone thousands of years without artificially protecting our eyes from the sun. Second, research has shown that many of our hormones are regulated by natural light waves that enter through our eyes. Our hypothalamus and pineal gland, as well as, other organs are influenced by sunlight. Why do you think one of the best remedies for ‘jet lag’ is to go out in the sun without sun glasses to help re-sync your body? Also, animals and other mammals make vitamin D, so I’m not sure how it penetrates their fur?
Maybe some of the production process starts with the refraction of light waves hitting our retina? I’m just saying, maybe for those 20-30 minutes you’re out in the sun, you can go without making a fashion statement and let your eyes soak in some of that natural light too.
The big takeaway is you have to give your skin a good 20-30 minutes of direct exposure to absorb vitamin D for FREE. So, hold off on the long sleeves and sunscreen for at least the first 20-30 minutes. We’ll talk more about the vitamin D you have to pay for another time.