Vitamin D, also known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’, is a hormone that’s produced when skin is exposed to sunlight and is used by every cell in your body to assist with the absorption of calcium, phosphate and magnesium. It’s essential for our bones, muscles and regulating our immune system for overall health and wellbeing. Vitamin D is manufactured during sunlight exposure directly onto the skin and can also be sourced from eggs, wild mushrooms and nutritional supplements. Note that commercial mushrooms are usually grown in the dark, so have negligible vitamin D. With vitamin D obtained from sunshine, we cannot overdose on it, as we can from supplements.
What are some benefits of vitamin D?
Vitamin D has several benefits for your body, these include:
- Reduces the risk of many cancers.
Much research in recent years has demonstrated that adequate vitamin D in the body contributes significantly to protection against numerous cancers, including most skin cancers and some other kinds.
Research suggests that absorbing vitamin D daily, will reduce the risk of developing the flu. This is due to the boosted levels of antimicrobial peptides (natural antibiotic-like substances) in the lungs which protect your immunity. Many studies reveal that vitamin D is absorbed the least in the colder months, when most people would contract the flu. This may be partly due to the decrease of vitamin D in the body.
- Helps Improve Your Mood
Absorbing vitamin D can help to regulate your mood and can assist in preventing
depression. Furthermore, vitamin D is also thought to improve your overall wellbeing. It is suggested that sunlight will increase the brain’s release of serotonin, a hormone that helps boost one’s mood and helps your body to become calm and attentive.
- Improves Bone Health
With age, bones can become weak and thin. However, vitamin D is one nutrient in particular that supports normal bone density and strength by regulating the level of calcium and phosphorus in the blood.
How much Sun Exposure Should You be Having in Australia?
The best way to absorb vitamin D is through natural sunlight. For optimal absorption without burning, the best time to expose your skin to sunlight is between noon and 3pm. The following table outlines how much exposure one will need for vitamin D according to your skin type. Note that exposure should be initially only a few minutes, and gradually built up.