Vitamin D and Your Skin

Amy Long Carrera, MS, RD, CNSC, CWCMS
Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
08/12/14  5:13 PM PST

Seasonal Tip: 

Your body uses UVB exposure from sunlight absorbed by your skin to make vitamin D. Experts recommend 5 to 30 minutes of sunlight exposure between 10 am and 3 pm, at least twice weekly. Multiple factors, however, affect your body’s ability to make vitamin D from sunlight:

• Complete cloud cover reduces UV rays by 50%.

• Shade cover reduces UV rays by 60%.

• Sun exposure through glass does not produce vitamin D.

• Sunscreen with SPF > 8 blocks most UV rays (although most people don’t apply enough to prevent partial exposure).

• The darker your skin, the less UVB it can absorb.

If many of the above factors apply to you, you may need to get more vitamin D from food to meet the 600 International Units (IU) recommended daily. Ask your doctor if you should also take a vitamin D supplement.

Food     International Units % Daily Value
Cod Liver Oil, 1 Tbs     1,360 IU 340%
Salmon (sockeye), 3 oz     447 IU 112%
Tuna packed in water, 3 oz     154 IU 39%
Orange Juice, fortified     137 IU 34%
Milk, 1 cup     120 IU 30%
Fortified margarine, 1 Tbs     60 IU 15%
Egg Yolk, 1 large     41 IU 10%
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