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Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin which is present in some foods or added to others. It also comes in supplement form. Contrary to popular belief, people believe that the sun gives you Vitamin D, this is a fairly big misconception as the UV radiation from the suns rays do not actually give you Vitamin D, rather it assists in your endogenous production of Vitamin D.
Here’s how it works. In Australia, sunlight is strongest around noon. When you’re outside exposing your beautiful skin to the sunlight, ultraviolet (UV) rays, specifically UVB will hit your skin, initiating Vitamin D production. Vitamin D produced in the skin is useless until it is converted in the liver and furthermore in the kidney where it ends up in its biologically active state ready to be used.
Biologically active Vitamin D plays many important roles in the human body. It promotes calcium absorption in the gut and maintains phosphorous concentrations in the body – this is utilised in bone mineralisation and prevent hypocalcemic tetany. It is also essential for proper bone growth and remodeling by osteoblasts and osteoclasts. The problem, however, lies in the fact that globally, over 50% of adults are deficient in Vitamin D. A Vitamin D defiency results in rickets in children and osteomalacia (softening of bones) in adults. Bones can also become brittle and thin resulting in fractures and breakages, especially in the elderly. Furthermore, Vitamin D plays an important role in cell growth modulation, neuromuscular, immune function and it possesses anti-inflammatory properties.
The Australian RDI for Vitamin D sits at 5-15ug/day for both men and women ranging from 19-70+ respectively.
Food Sources of Vitamin D:
- Fortified margarine
- Fatty fish such as salmon, herring and mackeral (Wild)
So how do you produce enough Vitamin D naturally? During Winter, the large majority of us will be deficient and hence flu and diseases are more prevalent, it is recommended to take a high quality Vitamin D3 supplement during winter for everyone, just as a safeguard. Now during the Summer, here are some things to consider: skin colour (dark skinned people need longer exposure than fair skinned), sunscreen usage, location (distance from equator), amount of skin exposed, ant time of day etc.
Here’s an example for someone who is fair skinned will produce enough Vitamin D to usage and storage in the liver and fat by spending 20-30 minutes in midday-afternoon sunlight with little to no sunscreen whilst being topless. A darker skinned person would require a little more time. It is recommended to be exposed to the sun for 1/2 the time it takes to get sunburnt and to expose as much surface area as possible.
During Winter, to get rid of the stress of not getting enough Vitamin D, take a quality supplement, it’s as easy as that. It’s affordable and if you get a quality one, it will do the job!
Now on a further note, UV exposure is a double bladed sword, especially to our fair skinned friends. UV exposure speeds up aging (sorry ladies, this is how you develop those ‘sunspots’, freckles, tough, rigid skin and large wrinkles…), as much as you love whipping on the bikini and showing off the bod, spending extended durations at the beach during summer will do you way more harm than good in the long term.
There is a direct reason as to why melanoma rates in Australia is one of the highest, if not the highest in the world and why skin cancer is one of the major killers here. Stay safe out there and be careful. I’ll talk a little bit about sun protection to help you get the most out of our beautiful sunlight. Slip. Slop. Slap. That’s what we grew up hearing on tv and the radio. Now here is my advice. Follow it – sunglasses, hat and sunscreen. Okay moving on to sunscreen, there is a huge misconception in the market. SPF 50+ is not SPF 50+… why?
The SPF on the bottle is usually the ‘lab’ SPF, the rating that is typically tested in the lab in optimal conditions with a thick coating. The real SPF in real world situations is anywhere between 1/4-1/2 of the lab SPF due to the generosity of the coating applied. SPF 15 blocks 93% of UV and grows incrementally as the SPF rating goes higher.
The best thing you can do for yourself is to avoid sun exposure for long durations between 11-3, use broad spectrum, high SPF sunscreen and apply generously to your whole body. Feel free to expose your body but never expose your face as once your face ages… well then that would be quite unfortunate.
Supplementation Advice: When taking supplements, it is recommended that those who are corporate workers and indoor workers take supplements, it is recommended that you take supplements in winter and it is also recommended that women, especially the elderly (both sexes of elderly) take supplements. Take the supplement in the form of Vitamin D3 and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends all infants should be taking a Vitamin D3 supplement either through fortified milk or formula.
To see/purchase the GMP pharmaceutical grade, NSF, TGA, FDA, Informed Choice and potency guaranteed approved products that I have trusted for my personal supplementation for the last 15 years, click here.
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