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Vitamin D is produced on the skin by ultraviolet light, particularly by ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. Many people rely on the sun for making enough vitamin D. However there are limitations to this approach. Many American adults spend very little time outdoors. Vitamin D production from sunlight is lower in people with darker skin pigmentation, older people and those living further from the equator. Vitamin D production is limited in fall and winter, when UVB rays are less intense. People living in the northern half of the U.S. are unable to make any vitamin D between November and early March. Given these factors, it's highly unlikely that you get enough vitamin D from the sun.
Family Physician and Integrative Health Specialist Dr. Joe Mercola discusses how much sun is needed to keep healthy vitamin D levels. Watch Dr. Mercola's video for tips on overall health and wellness.
Vitamin D is important, but not much direct sunlight is needed to ensure the production of it. In fact, just a few minutes out in the sun every day can make a difference and supplements or dieting could help regulate any deficiencies.
Use a sunscreen and wear protective clothing to safeguard your skin from the sun's harmful rays.
Exposure to sunlight increases skin synthesis of vitamin D. A sensible amount of sun exposure to the arms and legs would be 5 to 30 minutes at least 3 days per week. That’s enough to get the benefit while avoiding skin damage from too much exposure.
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