Vitamin D: What Is It + How To Get It

Typically, you won’t find me in the sun all that often. Sure, I’ll spend some time by the pool during the weekends and probably catch a few rays while I’m driving . . . But by and large, the only light  in my life is of the fluorescent variety. So lately I keep wondering about the importance of Vitamin D and, since I know that it comes from the sun, if I’m actually getting enough.

Vitamin D: What Is It + How To Get It | Original Caroline

First off, what exactly is Vitamin D? You may be surprised to learn that Vitamin D isn’t a vitamin at all. Put simply, it’s actually a hormone that is produced out of cholesterol when you skin is exposed to the sun. While other vitamin supplements focus on enhancing the performance of your body, Vitamin D works to keep your body running. It’s a fat-soluble vitamin — meaning that it can be stored in the body for a long time — that naturally promotes calcium absorption, allowing you to have a stronger physique as you age. According to a recent Harvard University study, an estimated 1 billion people worldwide have inadequate levels of the sunshine vitamin.

But what real-life benefits does it actually bring to your body? Maintaining high levels of Vitamin D actually has a ton of untapped benefits, like making bones stronger while regulating cell growth and immune function. It helps people with heart conditions by reducing high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels, and it even boosts your immune system quickly and effectively, to the point of lifting your mood!

Our government recommends 600 IU (international units) of Vitamin D3 a day which would be at least 15 minutes of sun exposure to bare skin, sans sunscreen. However, according a recent study at Harvard University, an estimated 1 billion people worldwide have inadequate levels of Vitamin D

However, according to a recent Harvard University study, an estimated 1 billion people worldwide have inadequate levels of Vitamin D. Our government recommends 600 IU (international units) of Vitamin D3 a day, which would be around 10-15 minutes of sun exposure to bare skin, sans sunscreen. However, according to research, nearly 50 percent of people aren’t getting enough, and an estimated 1 billion worldwide are Vitamin D deficient.

Researchers blame this ever-present vitamin deficiency on reduced outdoor activity and increased use of high-SPF sunscreen. And yet, physicians and scientists agree that we should continue to use sun protection, especially those that harness fresh ingredients like COOLA’s farm-to-face formulas.

So how do you get your daily dose while still protecting yourself? Fear not: prevailing studies show that it is possible for people who use sunscreen on a daily basis to maintain their Vitamin D levels. You just have to use it effectively.

Here are a few top tips on how to get more than enough Vitamin D while staying safe in the sun.

Vitamin D: What Is It + How To Get It | Original Caroline

Move indoor activities outside.

Much like plants need sunlight to grow and thrive, so do humans. Sunlight spurs your body to make Vitamin D. So in order to ensure that you’re getting enough sunlight, make an effort to move simple activities outside while the weather is nice. For most people, spending about 20-30 minutes outside twice a week is enough for your body to synthesize healthy levels of Vitamin D. So ditch the treadmill for a jog around your neighborhood, lay out by the pool with a good book, and start eating your lunch outside if possible.

Cover up.

Shirts, hats, shorts and pants help to reduce your risk of sunburn by 27 percent + sunglasses are a necessary accessory to protect your eyes from UV radiation. To ensure that you don’t get sunburned, alternate time spent in direct sun with moments in the shade, especially if you’re outside when UV rays are most intense (between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.). Check the UV index before spending long hours outdoors and consider moving inside if it’s above a six or seven.

Stock up on the right sunscreen.

In a recent article for the Skin Care Foundation, dermatologist Dr. Anne Marie McNeill confirmed that those who use sunscreen religiously don’t need to be concerned about Vitamin D deficiency, stating that, “No matter how much sunscreen you use or how high the SPF, some of the sun’s UV rays [still] reach your skin. An SPF 15 sunscreen filters out 93 percent of UVB rays, SPF 30 keeps out 97 percents, and SPF 50 filters out 98 percent. This leaves anywhere from two to seven percent of solar UVB reaching your skin, even with high SPF sunscreens. An that’s if you use them correctly.”

So every time you venture into the great outdoors, make sure you protect yourself with sunscreen that will keep the harmful rays outs! Look for ones that are free of parabens, sulfates, and phthalates which have been associated with hormone disruption + liver and kidney damage. COOLA’s Sport SPF 50 Guava Mango Sunscreen Spray avoids these nasty ingredients to deliver 80 minutes of protection! Plus, it’s water resistant and infused with antioxidants and organic ingredients like cucumber, algae and strawberry extracts.

Rethink food and supplements.

Unfortunately, uncooperative weather and a busy schedule can sometimes make it impossible to spend even 5 minutes outside. However, you can still get a substantial amount of Vitamin D from fortified food and supplements. If you’re unable to spend at least 15 minutes in the sun, consider adding more Vitamin D-rich foods to your diet like eggs and fatty fish (which include tuna, mackerel and salmon). Just be aware that even the foods that naturally contain Vitamin D don’t really provide you with the 600 IU your body actually needs to stay in tip-top shape. So consider adding a Vitamin D supplement to your daily routine if you’re concerned about a deficiency.

And thankfully, now you don’t have to worry about losing that natural glow even with a busy schedule. COOLA has created the world’s first Eco-Certified Cosmos Organic sunless tan product that’s full of skin-nourishing goodies like hibiscus, organ oil, and chamomile extract. There’s an anti-aging face serum formula as well!

+How do you get your Vitamin D? Leave your tips in the comments!

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