Vitamin D – Amount of Sun Exposure Required

© Copyright Bee Wilder

Revised July 26, 2010 to clarify some issues.

NOTE: Most people today are not able to meet all of the requirements for making vitamin D on their skin even in the Summer Months - see "Requirements for Making Vitamin D on the Skin from the Sun" below - therefore, most people need to take cod liver oil, which contains omega 3, and vitamins A and D all year.

Factors That Affect Vitamin D Levels

  • Antioxidant levels, with natural animals fats being the best antioxidants for humans, i.e. butter, unrefined coconut oil, lard, tallow, chicken and goose fat, fish fat, etc., along with 2,000 to 3,000 omega 3 and 20,000 - 30,000 IU vitamin A (retinol) per day - to understand the difference between natural and unnatural fats see Unnatural Fats & Oils Damage the Entire Body.
  • Diet in general which needs to contain "proper nutrients," i.e. moderate protein, and low-carb, along with high "good" fats as noted above. Note: Carbs are any foods not classified as protein or fat. See Healthy Diet. If a person had candida/yeast they would follow the diet outlined in How to Successfully Overcome Candida
  • Supplements taken - see these basic Supplements to Take that are important for everyone. If the person has candida/yeast they would take Candida Supplements.
  • Eliminating as many toxins as possible, particularly in foods.
  • Age
  • Skin color (see below)
  • Current tan level
  • Latitude and altitude (elevation, i.e. distance from the sun), with the Equator being the highest sun exposure.
  • Cloud cover and pollution
  • Ozone layer
  • Surface reflection, since reflection off water or ice and snow intensifies sun exposure.
  • Season
  • Time of day

Requirements for Making Vitamin D on the Skin from the Sun

  • Sun exposure must be done daily when not taking vitamin D supplements.

  • A minimum of 40% of the body surface (skin) needs to be exposed to the sun.

  • Exposure must be to prime midday sun (10:00 AM to 2:00 PM) when the UVB rays are strongest; UVB are the kind of sun rays that produce vitamin D on the skin.

  • Most people require 800 to 1,200 IU vitamin D minimum daily, in addition to vitamin D found naturally in foods. About 100 to 200 IU of vitamin D is produced for each 5 percent of body surface exposed.

  • Light skinned people need 10 to 20 minutes of sun exposure daily, while dark skinned people need 90-120 minutes daily.

  • Natural skin oil is critical to the absorption process since vitamin D is only formed on skin that has enough natural oil formed on its surface and if it stays on the skin long enough after exposure to the sun.

    Chlorine in swimming pools, baths and showers strips away natural oils, and washing with soap removes oils from the skin. Therefore immediately after washing with soap and/or exposure to chlorinated water, chlorine and soap residue should be removed by applying unrefined coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil all over the skin's surface. That will allow natural oils to start being built up on its surface, which takes about 24 hours after removing residues, so you should plan your sun exposure accordingly.

    Dr. Mercola claims that we need 48 hours "after proper sun exposure" in order to absorb vitamin D containing oils from the skin surface, so do not wash with chlorinated water, nor go into a chlorinated swimming pool, or wash with soap for two (2) days.

    But remember, in order to get enough vitamin D you need daily exposure to the sun when you do not take vitamin D supplements.

This is why it is difficult, to almost impossible, for most people today to get enough vitamin D from sun exposure. Therefore taking cod liver oil is recommended all year, except for those "rare people" who are able to fulfill all of the requirements above.

Some people may worry that if they are in the sun a lot they will overdose on Vitamin D. However this doesn't happen, and here's why. When you're exposed to the sun, the UVB rays creates vitamin D on your skin, while the UVA rays in the sunlight will tend to destroy excessive levels of vitamin D circulating in your body. That means that even "if" you are taking vitamin D and also getting it from the sun, the UVA rays in sunlight won't allow you to have too much vitamin D.

For more details about taking cod liver oil see Cod Liver Oil Brands/Products with Nutrient Levels, which includes a safe and beneficial sunscreen!
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