Vitamin D is necessary for calcium and phosphate absorption and metabolism for healthy bones and teeth. Its primary food sources include fortified milk, butter, whole eggs and salmon. Vitamin D is made in the skin when exposed to sunlight. It is manufactured from cholesterol within cells that lie beneath the skin’s surface. Vitamin D deficiencies are common among those who live in areas with cold, overcast weather. Low Vitamin D levels can play a role in bone loss and bone thinning, resulting in chronic diseases such as osteoporosis.
How do I know what my blood level is? A simple blood test can if you level is normal. For low levels eating more foods in high Vitamin D, taking a supplement or spending limited time in the sun without sunscreen can help.
But be careful when seeking the sun! Folks have avoided the sun because of growing concerns about skin cancer. In order to synthesize levels in the skin, there is no need to soak up rays for hours. Only 10 – 15 minutes of sun exposure three times per week can do the trick!
What is SPF?
SPF (Sun Protection Factor) rating is calculated by comparing the amount of time needed to produce sunburn on sunscreen-protected skin to the amount of time needed to cause sunburn on unprotected skin. If a person who normally burns in 10 minutes without sunscreen wears an SPF 2 rating – it would now take 20 minutes to turn red. If that person wears an SPF of 15, it would take 15 times longer to burn or 150 minutes. Even with this protection, sunscreen wears off, so it needs to be reapplied at least every 2 hours. Approximately one ounce of sunscreen, enough to fill a shot glass, is considered the amount needed to cover the exposed areas of the body properly.