New Britain City Journal

New Britain's Weekly Online Newspaper


Get Your Vitamin D from 15 Minutes in the Sun

Most individuals are use to hearing that spending too much time in the sun has many negative health effects. Have you ever heard of the health benefits? Spending fifteen minutes a day in the sun helps an individual to consume the daily recommendation of Vitamin D that a person needs. However, if you are planning on spending more than fifteen minutes in the sun, make sure to use sunscreen.

Vitamin D plays a vital role in your body’s maintenance. According to the National Institutes of Health, Vitamin D helps maintain strong bones, produce strong teeth, and also assists the nerves in your body to send messages to your brain. Another important role that Vitamin D plays in your body’s health is helping your immune system fight off bacteria and viruses. Individuals who get too little Vitamin D may develop a disease called osteomalacia, where children may develop the disease Rickets. Both of these diseases soften the bones because of the lack of Vitamin D or because your body is unable to use Vitamin D efficiently. Adults will have bone fractures without reason or cause, while Rickets causes bone pain, delayed growth, and dental issues.

Although spending a few minutes in the sunlight daily can help you receive Vitamin D, your diet is also a larger contributor. “Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel are among the best sources.” (National Institutes of Health, 2012) Other food sources that produce Vitamin D include milk, beef, mushrooms, egg yolks, and cheese. Some cereal, yogurt, and orange juice brands also provide Vitamin D.

So how much Vitamin D should one consume? Children who fall between the ages of one and thirteen need to consume around ten micrograms. Adolescents, and adults need to consume anywhere between five and ten micrograms. On food labels you will see Vitamin D measured in percentages. Percentages are based on a 2,000-calorie diet. So if the label on a particular food shows it provides 25 percent of vitamin D, that food contains 25 percent of the daily dose for a person who eats 2,000 calories a day. If the food has 20 percent or more of the daily value of Vitamin D, it is considered an excellent source of Vitamin D.

Although providing your body with enough Vitamin D is a positive thing, there is such a thing as too much Vitamin D. Toxicity could happen if Vitamin D levels become too high in your bloodstream. Symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, constipation, weakness, and weight loss can occur if this happens. It can also lead to kidney damage, as well.

Spending a couple of minutes in the sun, and eating a well balanced diet will help improve your daily intake of Vitamin D. However, it is always a good idea to contact your doctor to discuss your health, and get advice on your personal health goals.