Like most places in the world, living in Florida has it’s plus points as well as it’s negatives. The plus is that living here in the ‘Sunshine State’ means most of us are getting enough Vitamin D. However, this may not be the case for those of you living in other places in the world. You see Vitamin D is unlike other nutrients in that it is not provided by food but only when our skin is exposed to the sun.
I was born in Britain and lived there for the majority of my life so I am well aware of the dangers of being without regular sunshine! In fact, it is estimated that a staggering one in five adults and one in six children in the UK do not have adequate levels of vitamin D.
Obviously how often the sun shines is not the only culprit, for instance you could live in Florida and yet work inside all day, visit the gym on your way home and then spend the rest of the evening indoors. Even our younger generation are at risk as it would seem playing outside is no longer the norm with children opting for indoor computer games etc.
The highest risk goes to people with darker skin as the darker your skin the harder you will find it to synthesize vitamin D. Other risk factors are pregnancy and women who are breastfeeding and of course women who cover their skin for religious reasons. The elderly in nursing homes can often be at risk as well as people who work night shifts as they will obviously sleep the majority of the day. In fact anyone who spends the majority of the day inside is at risk.
So how much sun exposure do you have to get each day to be out of the danger zone? After all we know that too much sun comes with its’ own risks. Well, the majority of people can produce enough vitamin D from being out in the sun daily for approximately 20 minutes at one time. You should ensure forearms, hands or lower legs are uncovered.
There are some foods that are rich in vitamin D such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, egg yolks and cheese but they won’t provide nearly the amount you will get from 20 minutes of sunlight exposure.
Getting your vitamin D levels tested is fairly simple just ask your health practitioner how and they will advise you from there.