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What is the Deal with Vitamin D and Sun Cream?

Vitamin D is essential for our bone health and greatly supports our immune system.

We all need Vitamin D

People deficient in the vitamin can suffer from muscle aches and bone pain. A severe deficiency can lead to slower growth and weakened bone structure, increasing the risk of osteoporosis.

When our skin is exposed to sunlight, it actually manufactures vitamin D. The sun’s ultraviolet B (UVB) rays interact with a protein called 7-DHC in the skin, converting it into vitamin D3. This is the active form of vitamin D.

However, it has been proven on the molecular level that too much of the sun’s ultraviolet light damages the skin’s cellular DNA. This can create genetic mutations that can lead to skin cancer. Therefore, we are advised to wear sun cream daily which is at least factor 30+.

However, the skin cannot create vitamin D if covered in sunscreen or clothing. Sun cream with SPF15 will reduce the skin’s ability to synthesize vitamin D by more than 95%!

The question is, whilst protecting from UV exposure, how can you obtain enough Vitamin D?

In spring and summer, we get a source of vitamin D from sunlight. During autumn and winter months, sunlight is not strong enough for the body to make vitamin D. This is why, throughout the year, we need to rely on dietary sources of vitamin D.

This is especially true in Northern Ireland, as we get so little sunlight!

You can get a source of vitamin D from dietary sources including fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel. Small amounts are also present in egg yolks, beef liver, cheese and fortified cereals and drinks. However, the best source of Vitamin D is through supplementation.

We have a range of vitamin D supplements in store and online to suit various age groups and specific health requirements. The recommended daily amount is 10 micro grams (400 IU) but not to exceed 100 micrograms (4,000 IU).