How to Sunbathe to Increase Vitamin D Levels


The vitamin D is one of the essential vitamins for organism of the human being and its main source of obtaining are ultraviolet rays of Sun. For this reason it is also known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’ and its health benefits are innumerable.

In any case, vitamin D can also be found in certain foods, such as fatty fish, avocados, egg yolks, a variety of mushrooms or fortified dairy products. However, experts point out that 90% of vitamin D that we have in the body comes from the sun, while 10% comes from the food we eat.

In addition, in situations of severe deficiency it is possible to carry out a treatment based on the supplementation of this micronutrient. However, this option should be supervised by a medical specialist.

How much sun is necessary to take

Sunbathing properly can have important health benefits, one of the most important being the increase in vitamin D in the body. However, prolonged sun exposure can be harmful and lead to serious illnesses; like skin cancer.

vitamin D
vitamin D

In this sense, the World Health Organization (who) recommends sunbathing for 10-15 minutes a day in summer to avoid the damaging effects of UVA and UVB rays.

Although, experts in vitamins and nutrition advise sunbathing for a maximum of half an hour a day to increase vitamin D levels. In addition, they explain that it is not necessary to expose the whole body to solar radiation. Arms, legs and face will suffice.

On the other hand, from the WHO they insist on the importance of using sunscreen to protect the skin from the harmful effects of solar radiation. But you should not worry, research ensures that sunscreen does not limit the production of vitamin D due to the sun.

Vitamin D incorporation process

Incorporating vitamin D into the body is not easy. We are talking about a highly complex metabolization process that goes through two hydroxylation phases for its proper activation.

Sun, source of vitamin D
Sun, source of vitamin D

In this sense, the first hydroxylation originates in the liver and vitamin D is transformed into 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25 (OH) D], also known as ‘calcidiol’. For its part, the second hydroxylation takes place in the kidney, forming 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D [1,25 (OH) 2D] physiologically active, also called ‘calcitriol’.

All this process has to occur so that vitamin D is activated correctly in the body thanks to the moderate exposure of the skin to the sun’s rays. From there, this micronutrient performs different functions of great importance in the body, such as promoting the absorption of calcium in the intestine or maintaining optimal serum concentrations of calcium and phosphate to promote good bone mineralization.

And is that vitamin D is one of the most important micronutrients for bone health. But it has also played a major role during the Covid-18 pandemic, since different studies and clinical trials have found in this vitamin an important protective capacity against the virus.

Thus, during the Covid-19 pandemic, other studies carried out in Spain have revealed a generalized lack of vitamin D among the population. Therefore, summer is an ideal time of year to increase the values ​​of this micronutrient thanks to the solar action.

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