Top Up on the Sunshine Vitamin

Tip of the Day – Monday 11th June

With the sun high in the clear blue sky, summer is a time for outdoor living, al-fresco dining and topping up your vitamin D levels. In the human body the majority of vitamin D is made by the action of ultra-violet light from the sun on the skin, with the minor proportion (very minor) coming from foods like dairy and fish. So with such a poor summer so far, are we all getting enough D?

In the past Vitamin D was thought only to play a major role in bone health, helping calcium to be absorbed and utilised in bone formation. However, Vitamin D is now one of the hottest research topics in nutritional science, with seemingly new findings being published every week. We now know that vitamin plays a vital part in immune health, mood, controlling inflammation, muscle strength and ensuring proper cell division.

In the summer even cloudy days offer plenty of UV light, but if you work indoors all week, you may not be getting enough, even on sunny days. If you are outdoors and tend to apply sunscreen straight away, bear in mind that you are literally stopping Vitamin D production at the same time. I’m not suggesting you skip the sun screen, just give yourself 20-minutes to make some D before you slap it on.

The simplest advice at this time of year is to make sure you get 20-minutes of sunshine (or cloud) every day. Not only will it boost your D levels, but it ensures you take a break from your work and get some fresh air – and that’s never a bad thing!

About Paul Chamberlain

Paul Chamberlain MSc is a performance nutritionist based in Hertfordshire supporting athletes in a variety of sports and offering weight loss and general nutrition coaching to anyone looking to improve their health and well-being. Paul has lectured extensively on nutrition and is former Technical Director at Solgar Vitamin & Herb, where he gained extensive knowledge of the supplement market. Paul uses a functional approach to promote improved performance and long-term health.