Synthesis of vitamin D
On the other side of the coin, it turns out that the sun’s rays are our essential ally to synthesize vitamin D, since it is also found naturally in very few foods. The best known disorders caused by vitamin D deficiency are rickets in children and osteoporosis in adults. as it is necessary to help the body absorb calcium, but a lack of vitamin D is also associated with fatigue, muscle aches, tiredness, depression, and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes.
How do you strike the fine balance between getting enough sunlight and staying out of line? In 2017, a team of researchers from the Polytechnic University of Valencia published a study in the journal Science of the Total Environment in which they estimated the precise time of exposure to the sun to obtain the recommended doses of vitamin D. According to the authors, in winter it takes about 150 minutes, while between April and June it would be enough to expose 20% of the skin for ten minutes. These are approximate values, since the time required varies depending on factors such as our skin type or the latitude at which we are.
Although in Spain there are sufficient amounts of solar radiation, a large part of the population could be deficient in vitamin D according to various studies. In winter it is very difficult to spend so much time outdoors, and in summer it is inadvisable, for the reasons mentioned above, to be exposed to direct sunlight without sunscreen. The use of creams with a protection factor greater than 15 blocks the production of up to 99% of the vitamin, according to the article. Some of the measures to achieve that delicate balance recommended by the authors of the work are to avoid sunbathing lying on the beach without moving: it is preferable to take short walks with light clothing and a hat, but with the legs and arms in the air .
Although it is difficult to get the recommended amount of vitamin D through food, whole dairy products, eggs and oily fish such as sardines and anchovies are foods that can provide us with greater amounts. If necessary, a medical professional can also prescribe vitamin D supplements. (Always under medical supervision, as the defect is as bad as the excess, and in this case the excess can cause us a toxic reaction: formation of calcium stones, nausea and vomiting are some of the adverse effects).