Food and safe sun | How good is it for our vitamin D Intake

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Although the sun is our major natural source of vitamin D, you’ll also find it in foods
such as oily fish (salmon, sardines and swordfish) cod liver oil, fortified breakfast
cereals, eggs, butter, fortified milk, meat and UV-exposed mushrooms.


Getting all your vitamin D needs from foods is virtually impossible so a combination
of safe sun and vitamin D-containing foods is wise. Professor Mason advises, ‘Any
old sunlight won’t do. The energetic UVB-rays that make vitamin D are
around for most of the day in summer, but only around noon in winter,
particularly in southern parts of Australia.’


For most people exposing the arms and hands or equivalent area of skin on either
side of the peak UV periods (10am-3pm) for six to eight minutes on most days of the
week should be enough for the body to produce the vitamin D it requires.

Why supplements are important?


In winter, the sun exposure to arms or equivalent needs to be around noon and for
from seven minutes (Cairns) to 30-40mins (Hobart) most days, hands, or equivalent
area of skin exposed, spread over a week to maintain adequate vitamin D levels.’
‘The energetic UV that produces vitamin D is not around in early morning or late
afternoon. In summer, you risk too much UVA exposure for the amount of vitamin
D you make and in winter, in most of Australia you won’t make any vitamin D early
morning or late afternoon’ ends Professor Mason.


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