Our bodies need vitamin D to build and maintain strong, healthy bodies. Without vitamin D, the body cannot use calcium and phosphorus, two minerals that are necessary for healthy bones. One of the top sources of vitamin D is the sun; However, the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) does not recommend getting vitamin D from sun exposure (natural) or indoor tanning (artificial) because ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun and tanning beds can lead to the development of skin cancer. Getting vitamin D from a healthy diet, which includes naturally enriched vitamin D foods, fortified foods, and beverages, and/or vitamin supplements offers a safer alternative. It is important to note that most problems with vitamin D deficiency are nutritional in nature; And, even though sunlight IS necessary to synthesize Vitamin D, it takes only 10 minutes of morning sunlight or casual/passive sun exposure (like through your car window) to saturate these receptors. So, tanning or prolonged exposure to sunlight will not increase your vitamin D levels more than what you are getting.
- Dietary sources of vitamin D do not prematurely age the skin or increase the risk of developing skin cancer like sun exposure does.
Dietary sources (foods naturally rich in vitamin D, fortified foods, and beverages) and vitamin supplements are available year-round and can easily be incorporated into a healthy lifestyle. Good sources include fortified milk, cheeses and yogurt, fortified cereal, and oily fish like salmon and tuna. Research shows that vitamin D supplements are well tolerated, safe, and effective when taken as directed by a physician.
The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for vitamin D is:
400 IU (International Units) for infants/children 0-1 yrs
600 IU for children, teenagers, and adults 1-70 yrs
800 IU for adults 71+ yrs
Because the amount of vitamin D a person receives from the sun is inconsistent and increases the risk of skin cancer, the RDA was developed based on a person receiving minimal or no sun exposure.
- People need vitamin D to absorb calcium and phosphorus, which are essential for bone health.
Vitamin D increases the efficiency of the body's absorption of calcium 30 to 40 percent, and phosphorus by 80 percent. Fortified foods and beverages are rich in both vitamin D and calcium and maintain phosphate levels. Many dietary supplements also contain both of these minerals. Getting enough calcium and vitamin D is essential to prevent osteoporosis in men and women who are 50 years of age and older.
Vitamin D from food and dietary supplements offers the same benefits as vitamin D obtained from the sun (UV light).
Vitamin D cannot be used by the body until it is processed by the liver and the kidneys. The usable form of vitamin D created by this process is the same, regardless of how it enters the body.
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that anyone concerned about getting enough vitamin D should discuss with his or her doctor the options for obtaining sufficient vitamin D from foods and/or vitamin supplements.
Article Source: AAD.org. For more information about this and other skin-related topics, visit AAD.org.