“Vitamin D is ONLY activated in the body, even with supplementation, by sunlight.”
The Importance of Sunlight
We evolved to get natural light throughout the day. However, most of us spend our time indoors avoiding the sun because we mostly work indoors and the sun can cause cancer.
Is this really the case? Sure, severe sunburns can bring on health issues, but avoiding the sun also brings on health issues–including cancer.
Vitamin D is ONLY activated in the body, even with supplementation, by sunlight. Let me say it again: sunlight is required for vitamin D. Period.
If you want to be healthy, get outside. Touch the earth. Let the sun touch your unprotected skin. We were made to do this!
This isn’t to say you should not be smart about it. We should only expose our unprotected skin and eyes for half the time it takes for our time to turn pink. If you burn, you were out too long.
Why is vitamin D so important?
Did you know vitamin D is a hormone? It is not a vitamin. As a hormone, it helps to control and coordinate your body’s chemistry. It is a chemical messenger in your body helping with:
- Bone health and strength
- Healthy skin
- Healthy muscles
- Strong immune system
- Healthy heart
- Weight management
- Healthy cholesterol levels
- Lower inflammation
- Healthy teeth and gums
- Lower hypertension
- Diabetes management
- Healthy blood sugar levels
- Lower cancer risk
- Better concentration and memory
How to get enough sun without burning
Did you know the skin is actually our largest organ? We want to take care of it while getting our vitamin D from the sun.
Our skin can synthesize up to 10,000 IU a day from just being in the sun! Talk about inexpensive healthcare. Did you also know some studies showed a relationship with respiratory infections (like Covid) with vitamin D deficiency? Even more reason to get out with 50-75% of your skin exposed as well as your eyes a few times a week to help get healthier!
You want to check the chart below to see what your skin type is like and then look at the UV for the time you are going outside. It will tell you how long you should stay out at a maximum. As a note, it is the UVB rays that are needed for vitamin D. This is why the full spectrum lights don’t do the trick–they aren’t really full spectrum because they cut out the UVB.
Is supplementation worth it?
I have had a change of mind about supplementation. Because so many think supplementation is the answer (because, let’s face it, taking a pill is easier to do than actually doing the work), I do not believe supplementation is worth it any more. I actually actively discourage supplementation.
The long and short of it is that supplementation can help, HOWEVER, you STILL have to get outside and get sun. So, for most people, why do the supplementation with a good session in the sun can provide your body with up to 10,000 IU of vitamin D AND even taking the pill you still need to get outside to activate it?
I am leaving my old response below for anyone curious about where I have evolved from.
The short answer is YES! There are many places in the world (like Michigan) where we have a month or more with none of the UVB rays coming down because of the angle of the earth to the sun. I very much encourage getting extra sunlight during the spring, summer, and fall seasons because vitamin D is fat soluble which means we can store extra. However, supplementation can help. I only recommend a supplement that is D3 and is combined with K2. Just remember, you still want to try to get out at least with your eyes uncovered to help activate the vitamin D.
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