The Benefits of Vitamin D
In Australia, approximately 31% of adults have inadequate vitamin D levels (The Medical Journal of Australia). This number increases to 50% in women during the winter-spring months and people in southern states including Victoria and Tasmania.
The main role of vitamin D is to support the development and maintenance of healthy bones and teeth. Vitamin D has also been shown to have a protective effect on the heart, reducing the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure (The Journal of Pharmacology and Pharmacotherapeutics 2012). Vitamin D also decreases the risk of depression, obesity and autoimmune diseases and may play a role in preventing cognitive decline.
For most people, exposure to sunlight is their main source of Vitamin D. Most people find it harder to get outside and into the sun during winter months and this causes high levels of vitamin D deficiency. If you are vitamin D deficient, then it means you are missing out on a variety of health benefits and putting yourslef at an increased risk of various diseases.
So how much sun is enough? This depends on the person, where they are located, the season and their skin tone. Sunsmart has created a handy vitamin D calculator that can be used to work out how much sunlight exposure you are likely to need.
Are you getting enough sun during winter? Be sure to get outside at least once per day, preferably during a patch of sunlight.