The health benefits of vitamin D

Here at SKIN we are really interested in just how much exposure to sunlight we should be aiming for. We want to get enough exposure that we don't become deficient in Vitamin D, but not so much that we increase our risk of skin cancers. Luckily here are some guidelines provided by the Ministry of Health to help us get ideal amount of exposure.

Health benefits of vitamin D

  • Vitamin D maintains calcium and phosphate homeostasis, and optimises bone health and muscle function. Low levels are linked to bone conditions such as rickets in children and osteoporosis and osteomalacia in adults.

  • There is evidence of an association between low vitamin D levels and diseases such as colorectal cancer and cardiovascular disease. However, because there is no convincing evidence from intervention trials, there is no basis for incorporating these results into public policy at present.

  • For the general population, some sun exposure is recommended for vitamin D synthesis.

  • Between September and April sun protection is recommended (shade, clothing coverage and a hat that shades the face and neck, sunscreen, sunglasses), especially between 10 am and 4 pm. A daily walk or some other form of outdoor physical activity in the early morning or late afternoon is recommended.

  • Between May and August some sun exposure is important. A daily walk or another form of outdoor physical activity in the hours around noon, with face, arms and hands exposed, is recommended.
  • Use of sun beds and solaria is not recommended because they are associated with increased risk of early-onset melanoma.
  • For vitamin D synthesis, exposure must be to direct sunlight as UVB does not pass through glass.