Sunday 18 March 2018

Research shows how the summer sun may benefits bones

Summer sun benefits bones
Summer sun benefits bones

Short daily periods of sun exposure without sunscreen during the summer months are enough for most people to make enough vitamin D, which is good for our bones.

Evidence suggests that the most effective time of day for vitamin D production is between 11am and 3pm. A short period of time in the sun means just a few minutes - evidence suggests that about 10 to 15 minutes is enough for most lighter-skinned people in Ireland, and is less than the time it takes you to start going red or burn.

The larger the area of skin that is exposed to sun, the more chance there is of making enough vitamin D before you start to burn. People with darker skin need to spend longer in the sun to produce the same amount of vitamin D.

In Ireland, our skin isn't able to make vitamin D from winter sunlight (November to March) as the sunlight doesn't contain enough UVB (ultraviolet B) radiation. During the winter, we get vitamin D from our body's stores and from food sources.

The longer you stay in the sun, especially for prolonged periods without sun protection, the greater your risk of skin cancer. Remember to cover up or protect your skin before the time it takes you to start turning red or burn.Stay covered up for most of the time you spend outside and use sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15.

Some groups are at risk of vitamin D deficiency and will benefit from supplements. These include: all pregnant and breastfeeding women; babies and young children from six months to five years (unless they are having more than 500ml a day of infant formula); and older people, aged 65 and over.

Those who are not exposed to much sun are also at risk of deficiency.

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