Get Your Vitamin D, Just Not From UV

Nov 13, 2012 1 Comment by

A reminder for all, especially the cold weather states:

Vitamin D is essential for healthy living. UVB (not UVA) exposure from the sun causes the body to produce vitamin D; however, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends getting adequate Vitamin D through alternative safe methods.

Vitamin D helps maintain normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus. Vitamin D aids in the absorption of calcium, helping to form and maintain strong bones.  It may also protect from osteoporosis, hypertension (high blood pressure), cancer, and several autoimmune diseases.

According to the Mayo Clinic, two forms of vitamin D are important in humans: ergocalciferol (vitamin D2) and cholecalciferol (vitamin D3). Vitamin D2 is synthesized by plants. Vitamin D3 is synthesized by humans in the skin when it is exposed to ultraviolet B (UVB) rays from sunlight. Foods may be fortified with vitamin D2 or D3.

Fatty fish, such as salmon, are natural sources of vitamin D

Getting vitamin D (D3, not D2) through dietary intake – fatty fish such as salmon, fish liver, egg yolks, even vitamin D supplementation in a vitamin pill – is a lot safer than getting it through UV exposure. According to the AAD, “the IOM Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamin D is: 400 IU (International Units) for infants/children 0-1yr, 600 IU for children, teenagers and adults 1-70yr, 800 IU for adults 71+ yr.  The RDA is intake that covers needs of 97.5 percent of the healthy normal population.”  Recommendations are currently being reevaluated by the medical community. 2000 IU of Vitamin D3 may well end up being the new dosage recommended for prevention of vitamin D3 deficiency for people at risk of low levels.

Low levels of natural sun may be a necessary last resort for individuals at high risk of vitamin D deficiency. According to Board Certified Dermatologist Dr. Cynthia Bailey in her blog post “Are you really getting vitamin D from the sun, or just nuking your DNA” she says, “Fair-skinned people make the maximum amount of vitamin D3 possible within a few minutes of mid-day summer sun exposure. This occurs with less sun exposure than would cause skin redness. Longer sun exposure adds nothing to vitamin D stores, but it does increase DNA damage.” Dr. Bailey strongly encourages patients to get their vitamin D level measured by a doctor and take supplements and eat foods with vitamin D3. Dr. Bailey says, “Chances are, your level is just fine anyway and all that sun exposure is just nuking your DNA, making wrinkles, age spots and skin cancers.”

In conclusion, vitamin D is something most can get adequately through diet. Still use sunscreen and remain SunAWARE all year long!

Disclaimer: The information provided by Coolibar and its contributors is general skin care information and should not be a substitute for obtaining medical advice from your physician and is not intended to diagnose or treat any specific medical problem.

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