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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.
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.
Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.