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Supplements May Be a Better Source for Vitamin D than the Sun

Norwegian and US scientists recently ran a computer simulation model and found that supplements may be better for achieving adequate vitamin D levels than sun exposure.

Their findings were published in the June 2010 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology.

The researchers ran a computer model to determine the level of sun exposure needed to produce blood levels of vitamin D3 equivalent to supplementation of 400 or 1000 IU of vitamin D.

The researchers found that someone living in the Boston, Massachusetts area during the summer would need 3-8 minutes of sunlight exposure to about 25% of their body surface to synthesize the equivalent of 400 IU of vitamin D.

During the winter months they found that it would be extremely difficult for someone in a climate like Boston to produce any vitamin D at all.

In geographic locations like Miami, Florida you would only need 3-6 minutes of sunlight during any time of year.

With 1.5 million people diagnosed with sun cancer every year in the US alone, experts are encouraging more people to opt for supplements rather than more sun exposure.

These findings show that supplements may be essential for people in northern climates. Additionally, people in warm sunny climates need to be aware that supplements can be a much safer option than sun exposure.

These recommendations are especially important for seniors because as we age our skin becomes less efficient at synthesizing vitamin D.

Vitamin D has long been known for its bone health benefits, however, studies are showing that vitamin D is also important for maintaining your mood, keeping your immune system strong, reducing blood pressure and the risk of cardiovascular disease.

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