Are you like me and grateful that summer is now on its way, I hope!  Did you know that vitamin D is now freely available to you from now until the end of September between 11 am – 3 pm. Yes, in the UK, between 1st April and 30th September the UVA light from the sun is strong enough that when it strikes your exposed skin it triggers Vitamin D production by our body. Important given that Vitamin, D which is a fat-soluble vitamin, is not naturally found in many foods, although some are now fortified with vitamin D.  So even the most balanced, healthy diet cannot provide all of the Vitamin D your body needs. Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium for healthy bones and teeth. Even if you have a diet high in low fat and low sugar calcium-rich foods and drinks, without enough Vitamin D your body cannot use the calcium to build strong bones and teeth.
Emerging evidence suggests that Vitamin D may have other important roles in the body, so let’s watch the literature with interest. Your body will make more vitamin D in the middle of the day, when the sun is at its strongest compared with when you’re in the shade or on cloudy days or when pollution is high. So to get enough vitamin D for free:

  • Go out in the sun before applying sunscreen 2 – 3 times a week for at least 15 minutes – but not long enough to get sunburned.
  •  People over 65 or with darker skin would need to spend a bit longer outdoors – but, again, not long enough to get sunburned.
  • For those worried about the risk of skin cancer who always use a high factor sunscreen or cover their skin when outside, then you should consider taking a daily vitamin D supplement appropriate to your age all year round.

People who need to take a vitamin D supplements all year round are:

  • Those aged 65 years or older – 10 microgram supplement daily.
  •  Young people and adults who are not exposed to much daylight – 10 microgram supplement daily
  •  Pregnant and breastfeeding women – 10 microgram supplement daily.
  •  All babies and children aged 6 months – 5 years taking less than 500mls of fortified formula milk each day – 7 – 8.5 micrograms daily
  •  Breastfeeding babies may need to be given a vitamin drop from one month of age if their mother did not take a Vitamin D supplement during pregnancy.

If you’re worried that your levels of vitamin D are low you could always ask your GP to check them for you. So I’m now just hoping that the weather is kind to us this summer so we can get out and about in the fresh air and enjoy the freebie from the sun to help us get the vitamin D we need to keep our bodies fit and well. If you think this article may be useful to someone else please do feel free to share it with them.  And maybe come over and join the conversation in The Steps To Health Facebook Group, you’ll be most welcome. I do hope that this has been useful for you.  Do you think you’re outdoors enough over the summer months to get enough vitamin D?  Please do share in the comments below. I always love to hear from you. Here’s to your nourishment; body, mind and spirit

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