The human body responds to sun exposure by producing vitamin D. For strong bones and teeth, vitamin D is necessary. In addition, it performs a variety of other crucial functions in the body, including controlling immunological response and inflammation. Despite its name, vitamin D is really a hormone or prohormone rather than a vitamin.
As the winter weather is approaching, it is time to use sun exposure as an effective way to seek vitamin D. Sunbathing is one of the best ways to absorb vitamin D. Vitamin D has many benefits such as making our bones strong, boosting immunity, and so on.
Sunbathing can cause more harm than good if not practiced correctly. For example, extended sun exposure without proper precautions can cause various health issues. In this article, we discuss the right way to use sunbathing to increase your vitamin D intake.
Here’s how to ensure your body absorbs vitamin D the right way:
1. Sunbathing and time duration
In the skin, cholesterol is converted to vitamin D. That implies that in order to produce enough, you must expose a lot of skin to the sun. Some researchers advise only exposing around a third of your skin to the sun. The majority of people with lighter skin should be able to get away with 10 to 30 minutes three times a week throughout the winter, according to this advice. People with darker complexion may require a little longer.
2. Sunscreen and sunbathing
Sunscreen is used by people to shield their skin from sun damage and skin cancer. This is due to the ingredients in sunscreen, which can reflect, absorb, or scatter sunlight. However, sunscreen could stop the skin from synthesising vitamin D because UVB rays are necessary for its synthesis. In fact, according to some research, using sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher causes the body to produce 95–98% less vitamin D. One reason is that even if you are using sunscreen, spending more time in the sun may still results in enough vitamin D being produced in your skin.
3. Sunbathe during midday
The ideal time to get sunshine is midday, particularly in the winter. The sun is at its highest position and emits its strongest UVB rays at midday. Therefore, spending less time in the sun is necessary to produce enough vitamin D. Numerous studies have also shown that the body produces vitamin D most effectively around midday. In addition to being more effective, obtaining vitamin D around noon could also be safer than receiving sun later during the day.
4. Check air pollution
Sunbathing in poor air quality might do more harm than good. Make sure to regularly check air quality levels around your surroundings and at places you sunbathe. Prolonged exposure to poor air quality might cause irreversible damage to your lungs and might reduce lung capacity. Furthermore, pollution might further absorb the sun’s UVB rays which are responsible for providing vitamin D in our bodies.
5. Plan your sunbathing sessions
Instead of purely relying on seeking sun exposure while running errands, make sure to take designated time out for sunbathing. Getting sun exposure while out and about might not provide you with enough vitamin D. Try to take 20-30 minutes daily to sunbathe. Make sure to wear appropriate clothes that ensure maximum sun absorption.
Keep these points in mind when planning to sunbathe this winter.
Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for a qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.