Question

Vitamin D

How does my skin make vitamin D?

A Answers (2)

  • AJoan Salge Blake, MS, RD, Nutrition & Dietetics, answered on behalf of Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
    Vitamin D (IU) Chart

    Vitamin D is called the “sunshine vitamin” because it is made in your body with the help of ultraviolet (UV) rays from sunlight. Many healthy people can synthesize all the vitamin D they need as long as they get adequate sun exposure. People who don’t get enough sun exposure must meet their Vitamin D needs through their diets.

    Whether from food or sunlight, vitamin D enters your body in an inactive form. The ultraviolet rays of the sun convert a compound in your skin into previtamin D, which is then converted to an inactive form of vitamin D in your blood. The vitamin D in your foods is in this inactive form. It travels in your blood to your liver, where it is changed into a circulating form of vitamin D and released back into your blood. Once in your kidneys, it is converted to an active form of vitamin D.

    Individuals should look to food sources to meet their vitamin D needs:

    Vitamin D (IU) Chart
  • ADoris Day, MD, Dermatology, answered
    Your skin synthesizes Vitamin D, an important nutrient for the health and strength of your bones because it allows calcium to be metabolized. Vitamin D is produced in the epidermis when your skin is exposed to the sun. However, you need very little time in the sun, 10 to 15 minutes a day, to create all the Vitamin D you need. The notion that avoiding the harmful effects of excess sun exposure will result in a Vitamin D deficiency is a myth, and a dangerous one at that.
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