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The Sunbath for vitamin D

Without doubt, the best source of Vitamin D is moderate and consistent sun exposure


Sunbathing girl

How much Vitamin D do we need ?

We need ~5,000 I.U. Daily vitamin D from all sources.   The elderly and those with dark skin are at much greater risk of D deficiency than others

vitamin D deficiency is common.   One recent study suggests that vitamin D deficiency is reaching crisis levels, with more than 1 billion people worldwide deficient in this vital nutrient. Our loin-cloth wearing ancestors lived mainly outdoors, and with minimal exposure to strong sunlight were able to daily synthesize ~ 20,000 I.U. vitamin D . Today, we spend most of our time indoors and when we do go outside, we slather on sun-block, which prevents vitamin D production.

For some people, sufficient sunshine exposure is not possible

For example, if lifestyle and work schedules do not allow enough time in the sun or if a resident of a northern (or far southern) climate, where the sun is too low in the sky most of the year to produce adequate vitamin D . The body can draw on vitamin D stored in fat for a few weeks or months, but then it becomes necessary to ensure other sources:

Supplement an oral or sublingual vitamin D3 However, to avoid overdosing you should have your calcidiol (25 [OH] D) levels checked for optimal not just average values. For more information on testing:

 How to obtain vitamin D

Use a safe tanning bed.   Supplies full spectrum light;

Install full-spectrum light fixtures in your work or home.  Includes visible, infrared and UV light to closely mimic natural light;

Eat oily fish and D3-fortified foods.  E.g. salmon, milk and orange juice;

How to sunbathe for optimal Vitamin D

•  Bare skin (but don’t frighten the neighbors!)

•  No sun-block

•  No glasses

•  No hat

•  Sun high in the sky

•  Do NOT get sunburnt !

When to sunbathe?

Exposing skin to sunlight’s UV-B for vitamin D3 production is best obtained between the hours of 10am and 2pm.  And yes – exactly opposite to what you’ve been led to believe!  Sun exposure at higher latitudes before 10 am or after 2 pm will cause burning from tanning UV-A rays before it will supply adequate vitamin D from UV-B. For a more detailed explanation: 

Why sunbathe between 10 and 2 for vitamin D production?

And while on the subject of UV-A and UV-B :

•   UV-B can destroy vitamin A in skin, but at a slower rate than UV-A ;

•   Suntan lotion absorbs UV-B , but not usually UV-A .   An SPF 15 lotion absorbs ~93% UV-B

How long to sunbathe?

Depends on skin color/amount of melanin in skin / age / antioxidant levels /essential fats in diet/ latitude /season /time of day /altitude /cloud cover /pollution.  As a rough guide, depending on UV-B level, full body exposure yields ~ 10-20,000 I.U. vitamin D into circulation for:

•   Light skinned person.   ~20-30 mins.

•   Dark skinned person.   ~60-120 mins.

“Listen” to your body – if the sun is being harmful, we feel uncomfortable, forcing us to withdraw from the sun’s rays before they can injure us.

Expose more than just face and hands, go nude if you dare

Aim to uncover at least 40% of your body:

“A full sunbath in the nude is ideal. This is not a mere cosmetic measure, but a health requirement for greatest value”

– Dr. Shelton

“Everyone sick or well looks better, feels better, gets better and functions better after exposing every part of their nude bodies to the beautiful sunshine”

– Bernarr McFadden

Do not get sunburnt

You need only enough exposure to have your skin turn the lightest shade of pink.  Production in the skin occurs in minutes and is maximized before skin turns pink. Longer exposures will not produce any more vitamin D but will accelerate photo aging and increase your risk for non-melanoma skin cancers like basal and squamous cell cancer.

–   Tanned Skin.  Melanin (dark skin pigment) is nature’s built-in protection to:

–   Prevent vitamin D overdose.   Melanin efficiently absorbs UV-B , and thus prevents cutaneous production of vitamin D 3. Melanin is the reason why dark skinned races need much greater exposure time to UV-B radiation in order to produce vitamin D ;

–   Protect against UV-A damage.  Melanin also absorbs UV-A and thus prevents excess UV-A from damaging UV-A -absorbing DNA, RNA and proteins;

Build up sun exposure slowly and consistently.   Rather than in sporadic intense bursts.

Minimize use of soap in shower for 48 hours after UV-B exposure

New evidence indicates that it takes about 48 hours for vitamin D -containing skin oils to be absorbed into the bloodstream.    Using soap only on underarm, groin and backside takes care of hygiene without losing vitamin D . These skin oils can also be removed by chlorine in swimming pools.

Use of sunscreen lotions

couple carrying beach chairs on beach

There are times when it is necessary to use a sunscreen lotion.  However, most commercial lotions available are just plain toxic and cause more oxidant damage than they were designed to prevent. For guidance on choosing a sunscreen, understanding SPF numbers and information on “edible sunblock” nutrients:

Sunscreen Lotions, etc.

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