We all know how important vitamins are for our bodies. Healthy bones need plenty of vitamin D in order to absorb calcium and stay strong.
Unlike most vitamins, which come from the foods we eat (or vitamin supplements), vitamin D comes free of charge. All you need to do is step out into the sunshine for a few minutes – because as well as being sourced from some foods, most of our vitamin D forms in the skin when it’s exposed to UV from sunlight.
Of course, in Australia, we need to balance the risk of skin cancer with maintaining adequate vitamin D levels.
In summer and when UV levels are 3 or above*, proper sun protection (hat, sunscreen and clothing) should remain a priority to prevent skin cancer, and just a few minutes in the mid-morning or mid-afternoon sun being enough for adequate vitamin D levels.
Sensible sun protection does not put people at risk of vitamin D deficiency.
For more detailed guidelines on safe sun exposure, check out the Cancer Council’s Position Statement on the Risks and Benefits of Sun Exposure.
* New joint position statement developed and endorsed by Cancer Council of Australia, the Australasian College of Dermatologists, The Bone and Mineral Society of Australia and New Zealand, Osteoporosis Australia and the Endocrine Society of Australia (January 2016)