Vitamin D is the only type of vitamin that is abundant and freely available in the nature in the form of sunshine. Unfortunately, this massive source of this essential nutrient is ignored by us, increasing the risk of developing vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D is present in our body primarily as vitamin D2 and vitamin D3, which are prohormones that could only be activated with the help of ultraviolet B rays of the sun.
Vitamin D and sunshine
If you are scared that exposure to sunlight will ruin your complexion, you are depriving yourself of vitamin D. Given the wide range of body functions powered by this nutrient, even mild vitamin D deficiency could be harmful for your health. Moreover, it is incorrect to consider that vitamin D deficiency could be easily avoided by taking vitamin D rich foods and vitamin D supplements. Very few foods in the world contain adequate amounts of vitamin D that could meet your daily dietary requirement of this nutrient.
Foods fortified with vitamin D and supplements could only provide you with moderate amounts of this vitamin, which the body might not be able to absorb effectively. Therefore, if you want to avoid vitamin D deficiency, you have no other option other than spending some moment outdoors during the day.
How much vitamin D do you need?
Usually 400 to 800 IU of vitamin D is required daily for maintaining a healthy life. Children need at least 400 IU of vitamin D from the first day of their lives. Requirement of vitamin D usually increases with age. Elderly people, especially those above 65 years of age, should have at least 700 IU of vitamin D daily. It is recommended that 10 to 15 minutes of exposure to sunlight, without applying sunscreen on your body, at least twice a week could help your body to synthesize adequate vitamin D. For people living in the tropical regions, availability of adequate sunshine is never a problem.
However, receiving adequate sunlight throughout the year could be a real problem for people living in the colder temperate and polar regions of the planet. Egg yolk and fatty fish such as salmon, sardine or tuna, are other natural sources of vitamin D.