When it comes to vitamin D sun presents an interesting paradox. Your skin produces vitamin D when you spend enough time in unfiltered sunlight as it reacts to the UV (A and B) radiation in the rays of the sun.
There is no easier or more natural to get your daily value out of the vitamin D sun relation. Unfortunately, spending too much time in the sun also puts you in danger of developing skin cancer, which is definitely worse than not getting enough vitamin D.
On the other hand, vitamin D is increasingly being found to help prevent and fight the progress of cancers in various studies around the world, so what’s a sunbather to do?
The NIH (National Institutes of Health) recommends you not spend too much time out in the sunlight unprotected by clothing, glass, and/or sunscreen, due to the danger of skin cancer or other skin damage.
Even if a lot of exposure to the sun does not result in skin cancer, it is still tied to other skin disorders and premature aging of the skin, so you should certainly not be overdoing it.
However, there can be no doubt that getting a small amount of sunlight, especially during the months of the year when it is strong enough on your latitude to produce vitamin D in skin is very good for you.
Humans did not evolve to be subterranean. Our skin is specifically designed to process sunlight and to turn it into something necessary for the health of our bodies.
One thing to be aware of if you are planning to risk the potentially damaging effects of the sun and spend some time outside anyway is that skin pigmentation.
How dark your skin is, has a lot to do with how much vitamin D your skin is able to synthesize in a given amount of time.
The darker your skin is, the more time it takes to make enough vitamin D in sun, but darker skinned people also have more natural protection against sunburn, skin damage and skin cancer.
On the other hand, the lighter your skin is, the faster you will sunburn, and if you are not wearing at least some sun block or other skin protection, odds are you may develop that sunburn before your skin has had a chance to synthesize enough vitamin D.
Fair skinned people may be able to improve their sun tolerance by gradually building up a tan, but for some people even that does not work.
In any case, if you are at an increased risk for skin cancer you should always make sure to wear sun block, enough layers of clothing, and not spend too much time in direct sunlight.
If you want to control the amount of UV radiation you are exposed to but still get your own skin to produce vitamin D sun vitamin D sun may not be as good an option as a tanning bed.
Or, if you just want the vitamin D without the tan, you can always get it through your diet, by taking supplements or increasing your intake of fatty fish, eggs and vitamin D fortified foods.