Summer is here and sunbathing on the beach or in the pool becomes one of the most desirable and daily activities, but it is worth remembering that sun exposure is not only used to relax and get a nice tan. The sun is one of the main sources of vitamin D, essential for the proper functioning of our body. This vitamin is essential in the process of absorbing minerals, such as calcium and phosphorus, so it is important for bone health. In addition, it influences the strengthening of the immune system, responsible for fighting possible infections, and is also effective in improving skin health, especially when it comes to improving conditions such as certain types of psoriasis and dermatitis.
How long do you have to sunbathe to absorb vitamin D?
If you are wondering how much sun we need to take vitamin D, it should be clarified that short exposures of between 10 and 15 minutes a day in summer are enough to obtain the amount of vitamin that your body needs. It is not necessary to spend hours in the sun, a short walk is enough, enjoying under its warm rays, for your body to synthesize the vitamin and obtain its benefits.
On the other hand, in autumn about 30 minutes are necessary and in winter about 130 minutes daily. Therefore, it will be necessary to spend more time outdoors.
Tips for sunbathing to absorb vitamin D
Sunbathing is beneficial to health and is undoubtedly one of the easiest ways to obtain vitamin D. The sun shines in the sky and we only have to expose ourselves to it to synthesize the vitamin. However, to really gain in health, you have to take into account a series of important tips when sunbathing.
What is the best time to sunbathe for vitamin D?
Not because the sun is hotter, its rays will be more effective in providing you with the vitamin D you need. It is always preferable to sunbathe for a few minutes in the morning, before noon, or in the afternoon, after 5 or 6 p.m. (always taking into account the season of the year and the hours of sunshine in the place of residence). It is necessary to avoid the hours of strongest sun.
Do you have to use sunscreen when sunbathing for vitamin D?
Not all the radiation we receive from the sun is beneficial. Remember that some ultraviolet rays (UVA) can cause skin damage, burns and even favor the appearance of skin cancer. Unprotected and excessive sunbathing is a serious health risk. Get vitamin D from the sun but use a sunscreen with the right protection factor for the characteristics of your skin, especially in the summer months, when radiation is especially high, but use it all year round if you are going to expose yourself to the sun. Sunscreen may cause you to get a little less vitamin D, but it's an essential precaution against sunburn and other problems.
We recommend you read this other article about How the sun affects the skin .
Is vitamin D absorbed with clothing?
This totally depends on the type of clothing you wear. Therefore, the lighter and with less dense fibers the fabric is, the better some sun will reach the skin, the more dense the fabric is, the worse or even impossible it will be. Thus, with some very light summer garments, it may become possible for that area of the skin to receive light and facilitate the synthesis of the vitamin, but, as we have said before, since the part of the skin that you expose to the sun does not matter, You can dress in the clothes you prefer, even in the middle of winter, dress warmly, and expose only your face and hands for a few minutes.
Is sunbathing through glass good for vitamin D?
It is not essential to leave the house to receive the benefits of the sun's rays translated into a supply of vitamin D. You can sunbathe at home but leaning out of an open window, because ultraviolet B (UVB) rays, the main responsible for this synthesis process They don't go through glass. Although you notice that the warmth is reaching you, you are receiving UVA rays, but not UVB rays, so open the window or the glass of your balcony.
The areas of the body to sunbathe and absorb vitamin D
It is not necessary to sunbathe all over the body or in a certain area, such as the face, for the sun's rays to take effect. There is no one area of the body that is better than another. You can take your dose of vitamin D as you want, some days walking in shorts, others in a swimsuit, on your back, just put your face… as you prefer.
Can you sunbathe taking vitamin D?
Maintaining the recommended levels of vitamin D according to the age and physical characteristics of each person is important, because deficiencies in this vitamin can lead to more or less serious health problems. Although there are no exact figures, it is estimated that the optimal levels of vitamin D in the blood for the general population range between 30 and 50 ng/ml (nanograms/milliliters). Vitamin deficiency could trigger diseases such as rickets in children and loss of bone density (osteoporosis, osteomalacia, increased fractures, etc.). Problems in the growth of children and, in general, joint or muscle pain can be symptoms of a lack of vitamin D.
Before taking vitamin D supplements , you have to consult your doctor for a blood test to see the levels of this vitamin in the blood and whether they are optimal or not. If it is necessary because our body cannot synthesize the necessary amount, either due to a health problem, due to an inadequate diet until we can improve it, or because we cannot access enough sun, supplements recommended by the doctor can be taken. .
As they are only taken if we have these problems, the truth is that it is convenient to stop taking vitamin D if we are going to be able to get enough sun , otherwise we could have an excess of this vitamin, which is not recommended for health either.
Foods with vitamin D
In addition to the sun, it is important to include foods rich in vitamin D in the diet to avoid becoming deficient. There are not too many and most are of animal origin. As we have said, this is a fat-soluble vitamin and it is found in very specific foods that are rich in fat, such as:
- Oily fish: salmon, tuna, mackerel, etc.
- Dairy: whole milk and derivatives, mainly butter and some types of cheese.
- Eggs: especially the yolk.
- Liver: pork, beef and chicken.
- Seafood: oysters, prawns, clams, shrimp, etc.