Don’t Be So Quick to Apply Sunscreen

Just 10 minutes of sunscreen-free sun exposure can prevent Vitamin D deficiency.

How do we get vitamin D?

Vitamin D is the only vitamin that we obtain via sun exposure. The sun’s UVB rays activate a precursor compound in our skin, which is then converted to an active form with the help of the liver and kidneys. Sounds easy enough, right?

Lots of us are deficient in Vitamin D

In fact, much of the population is deficient in vitamin D — 75-90% depending on skin pigmentation. This could be due to a variety of factors, such as how much body fat you have, how well your body activates vitamin D, the amount of sunshine where you live, whether you work indoors or at night, and whether you apply sunscreen prior to going outside.

Vitamin D is an important nutrient for feeling good

Vitamin D deficiency is significant. Vitamin D plays an important role in absorbing calcium from the food we eat and balancing the immune system. So, it’s no surprise that vitamin D deficiency is linked with osteoporosis, autoimmunity issues, mental/emotional conditions, cancer and cardiovascular disease.

So, what can you do to get more vitamin D?

Individuals with healthy vitamin D levels get about 90% of their total vitamin D via sun exposure. It’s a good rule of thumb to get 10-15 minutes of unprotected sun exposure each day. If you burn easily, plan this time for when the sun is not at its peak (in early AM or later PM).

Many people may need to supplement with vitamin D (choose vitamin D3 and ask a nutritionist or medical provider aboutdosing ). It’s actually a quick and inexpensive test to check to see if you’re getting enough. Your primary care provider can order it for you.

But don’t forego the sunscreen

After these 10-15 minutes, apply sunscreen. The added vitamin D with longer sun exposure is not worth the risk of skin cancer.

Which sunscreens are best?

There are a wide variety of sunscreens on the market. Unfortunately, many contain additives that do more harm than good. Our favorite sunscreens are Beekman 1802 Milk Primer (SPF 35) and Attitude Sunscreen (SPF 30). Both are low in toxins and verified by the Environmental Working Group. The EWG Verified seal is given to products that don’t contain concerning ingredients, show full transparency of ingredients, and are made by companies with good manufacturing practices. You can find more sunscreens that are low in toxins listed in the EWG’s Skin Deep Database.

At Healthy Nest, we believe that what you put on your body is just as important as what you put in it. Click here to schedule online for a free, 20-minute phone consultation with a Healthy Nest holistic nutritionist. We’ll help you figure out your diet (and lifestyle) for your BEST you!

 

Sources

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Holick MF, Garabedian M. Vitamin D: photobiology, metabolism, mechanism of action, and clinical applications. In: Favus MJ, ed. Primer on the metabolic bone diseases and disorders of mineral metabolism. 6th ed. Washington, DC: American Society for Bone and Mineral Research, 2006:129-37.

Holick, MF. Vitamin D deficiency. N Engl J Med. 2007; 357: 266-81.

Hyppönen E, Boucher B. Adiposity, vitamin D requirements, and clinical implications for obesity-related metabolic abnormalities. Nutr Rev. 2018; doi: 10.1093/nutrit/nuy034

“EWG’s Skin Deep Cosmetics Database.” EWG, www.ewg.org/skindeep/, Accessed 31 July 2018.

Sowah D, Fan X, Dennett L, Havtvedt R, Straube S. Vitamin D levels and deficiency with different occupations: a systematic review. BMC Pub Health, 2017; 17: 519.

“Vitamin D.” MedlinePlus, medlineplus.gov/vitamind.html, Accessed 31 July 2018.

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