Because being exposed to the sun is such a controversial topic, I believe it is imperative to know what safe, normal Vitamin D Levels are.

First: Vitamin D is a fat-soluble steroid hormonethat is essential for good health. It helps you absorb calcium and strengthens bones. It can be found in two forms: Vitamin D2 and Vitamin D3. It also helps strengthens the immune system and helps prevent cancer.

How do you get it?

You can get Vitamin D through foods. These foods include eggs, cod liver oil, fish, mushrooms or dietary supplements. One of the best ways to absorb this steroid, though, is through sun exposure. This is where the dilemma occurs: isn’t too much sun exposure bad for you? Won’t you age faster and also get skin cancer? Nowadays, the sun is deemed as dangerous and you’re told to slather on sunscreen and stay inside because of the danger of ultraviolet rays. Most of our days are usually spent inside wearing long sleeves.

The problem with this indoor lifestyle is that it leads to Vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D deficiency can lead to osteoporosis, malnutrition, and immune weakness. So you might now be thinking. What do I do? Do I avoid the sun?

First, the dangers of sun exposure are greatly exaggerated. Though there are recent ideas that the ozone layer has made the UV rays dangerous, I will be the first to tell you that it’s better to get some sunshine than none. It doesn’t have to be long- 15 minutes is fine. That much time outside will greatly help your health in numerous ways.

So, what is normal and healthy? How do I measure my Vitamin D Levels?

To measure Vitamin D Levels, there is a test called 25(OH)D, or 25-hydroxyvitamin D. It is measured in ng/mL, or nanograms per milliliter.

Inadequate levels are anything equal to or less than 30 ng/mL.

Too-High Levels are anything equal to or greater than 50 ng/mL.

Generally, any values in between are considered adequate.

For a Caucasian, light-skinned person, just 15 minutes in the sun without sunscreen are enough for you. For darker-skinned individuals you may have to spend up to 3 hours outside to get these same effects.

If you find that you’re spending too much time outside, I would actually recommend against using sunscreen.  You should be wary of using sunscreen because it generally contains harmful substances like oxybenzone (which cause free radicals) or Retinyl Palmitate (which has correlations with skin cancer among animals in lab tests).  Instead, I would recommend that you wear longer sleeves and wide-brimmed hats to protect yourself from prolonged periods out in the sun.

If you find that you need to use sunscreen, I would recommend this product because it is organic and a lot safer than generic brands. Badger's Sunscreen uses Zinc Oxide which is both safe and effective.

All in all, I would recommend that you spend more time in the sun because chances are, you need it. Normal Vitamin D Levels can be acquired if you spend time regularly in the sun without the sunscreen.

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