Due to decades of professional and media misinformation, most people believe they should avoid the midday sun and need to use sunscreen before, and several times during,
sun exposure. Sun exposure is very important to enable your body to make Vitamin D.


sun exposure UVA UVB vitamin D

The optimal time to be in the sun for vitamin D production is as near to solar noon as possible. That would be between roughly 10:00 am and 2:00 pm when the sun is at 50 degrees in the sky. When the sun is lower than 50°, the ozone layer reflects the more dangerous and potentially deadly UltraViolet A or UVA rays but let through thel (good) UltraViolet B or UVB-rays. It’s important to remember that vitamin D3 is formed from exposure to UVB rays, whereas UVA radiation actually destroys vitamin D. UVA’s also increase oxidative stress.

The ‘Shadow’ Trick
The trick to getting the most Vitamin D out of your daily sun exposure is to sunbathe when your shadow is shorter than your height. This means that in the winter, with the sunlight at a slant, your optimal sunbathing time is greatly narrowed down.

The more clouds there are, the less UV radiation reaches the earth’s surface. However, UV can penetrate cloud cover to some extent, so it is still possible to get sunburned on a cloudy day. This is especially true under light clouds, which can block infrared radiation but not UV radiation, leaving the day deceptively cool.

Likewise, some types of ground cover reflect UV radiation, increasing its intensity even in deceptively shaded areas. These surfaces include sand, snow, and water.

Air pollution, on the other hand, can block UV radiation too effectively. If the air pollution contains large amounts of ozone, UV penetration can be reduced to a sometimes dangerously low level for at-risk populations. This can be particularly true of cities surrounded by hills or mountains, which trap air pollution.


Avoid tanning through a window (including car windows) as it will increase your risk of skin cancer.


A minimum of 40% of the body surface (skin) needs to be exposed to the sun.


Dr. Mercola claims that we need 48 hours “after proper sun exposure” in order to absorb vitamin D containing oils from the skin surface, so do not wash with chlorinated water, nor go into a chlorinated swimming pool, or wash with soap for two (2) days.


Light skinned people need 10 to 20 minutes of sun exposure daily (FOR AT LEAST 2 TIMES A WEEK) while dark skinned people need 90-120 minutes daily. Caucasians and others with paler skin will hit an “equilibrium point” after about 20 minutes of exposure to UVB light, at which point vitamin D will no longer be produced.


Cover your face against sun exposure if possible. The skin around your eyes and your face is typically thinner than other areas of your body and the relatively small area will also not contribute much to vitamin D production. Too much sun exposure to your face will also contribute to cosmetic photo damage and premature wrinkling. You can use a safe sun block in this area or wear a cap. Use a non-toxic lotion with SPF15.


non-toxic sunscreen-ingredients

Avoid sunscreen / sun blocks (which are supposed to block UVB rays) as many of them contain harmful chemicals that will be absorbed into your bloodstream and increase your risk of cancers. Select sun screens that contain either zinc or titanium minerals, but not oxybenzone or retinyl palmitate (vitamin A). These moisturizing creams will not allow your body to produce any vitamin D.

Use organic coconut oil as a sun block instead.

Cotton clothing provides about SPF 15. In other words, you will get about 15 times your skin’s normal protection from the sun wherever you cover your body with clothing. Just remember that even with protective clothing on your body, it’s still important to monitor your skin for the telltale signs of burning.

If you get sun burn, ideally it is best to use the gel from a fresh plant, but there are commercial products available that have active aloe in them.

An excellent adjunct to vitamin D is the antioxidant astaxanthin (which acts as an internal sunscreen). Astaxanthin derived from Haematococcus Pluvialis


3 ways to get Vitamin D sunlight, supplements, fish

Fermented Cod Liver Oil
It contains Vitamin D3 instead of D3 sulfate is a delicate balance of beneficial co-factors, enzymes, essential fatty acids, antioxidants, and micronutrients. Specifically, Vitamin D works with Vitamin A to utilize calcium and phosphorous in the body. Contrary to what we have heard carrots contain betacarotene, not Vitamin A, so it is very likely that using D drops alone only gives us part of what we need for calcium transport. That’s why I take fermented cod liver oil in the winter months when Vitamin D when production from the skin is low.

Fresh, raw vegetables also provide your body with an abundance of powerful antioxidants that will help you fight the free radicals caused by sun damage that can lead to burns and cancer.

Some people may worry that if they are in the sun a lot they will overdose on Vitamin D. However this doesn’t happen, and here’s why. When you’re exposed to the sun, the UVB rays create vitamin D on your skin, while the UVA rays in the sunlight will tend to destroy excessive levels of vitamin D circulating in your body. That means that even “if” you are taking vitamin D and also getting it from the sun, the UVA rays in sunlight won’t allow you to have too much vitamin D.

Most people know that D2 – the synthetic version commonly prescribed by doctors – is not as potent as D3. Each microgram of orally consumed 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 is about five times more effective in raising serum 25 (OH)D than an equivalent amount of vitamin D2. However, besides being less potent, D2 supplements may actually do more harm than good overall.

Common Food Sources of Vitamin D:

  • Trout, rainbow, cooked
  • Salmon, cooked
  • Halibut, cooked
  • Milk, vitamin D fortified
  • Cereal, ready to eat, fortified
  • Pork, spareribs, cooked
  • Egg, whole, cooked
  • Mushrooms, shitake, cooked
  • Cereal, ready to eat, corn flakes
  • Frankfurter, beef
  • Butter
  • Cheese, cheddar
  • Common food sources of vitamin D

Following these guidelines will help to get optimum Vitamin D from sun exposure and minimize your chances of getting skin cancers.

vitamin d levels chart 25-hydroxy-d optimal deficient cancer excess ng-ml

So how do you know if you have entered into the summer season and into the time of year, for your location, where enough UVB is actually able to penetrate the atmosphere to allow for vitamin D production in your skin?


The first step is to determine the latitude and longitude of your location. You can easily do this on Google Earth, or if you are in the U.S. you can use the TravelMath Latitude Longitude Calculator to find your latitude and longitude. Once you have obtained that you can go to the U.S. Navy site to calculate a table to determine the times and days of the year that the sun is above 50 degrees from the horizon.

Please understand it is only theoretically possible to get UVB rays during those times. If it happens to be cloudy or raining, the clouds will also block the UVB rays. For a more detailed understanding of this, please view the following video, and/or read through the corresponding article.

Alternatively, if you have an iPhone or iPad you can download a free app called “D Minder“, which will make all the calculations for you. It was made by an Apple developer who was motivated to simplify the process of calculating the best time to get sun exposure (based on the above video).

From a health perspective, it doesn’t make much sense to expose your skin to the sun when it is lower than 50 degrees above the horizon because you will not receive any valuable UVB rays, but you will expose yourself to the more dangerous and potentially deadly UVA rays. UVA’s have a longer wavelength than UVB and can more easily penetrate the ozone layer and other obstacles (like clouds and pollution) on their way from the sun to the earth. UVA is what radically increases your risk of skin cancer and photoaging of your skin. So while it will give you a tan unless the companion UVB rays are available you’re likely doing more harm than good and should probably stay out of the sun to protect your skin.

During the times of the year when UVB rays are not present where you live you essentially have two options: You can use a safe tanning bed or oral vitamin D3.

vitamin D metabolism


Lack of vitamin D will leave you vulnerable to a number
of chronic diseases, including:

  • Sun Exposure Safety
  • 16 types of internal cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Hypertension
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Psoriasis
  • Ricketts
  • Schizophrenia
  • Tuberculosis and,
  • Myopathy

The fear regarding sun exposure, combined with the fact that many people now work indoors, has contributed to a silent epidemic of vitamin D deficiency.

Sunshine’s gifts extend well beyond vitamin D production. As discussed in the featured article by Sayer Ji,3 five of the many noteworthy properties of sunlight include:

  • Pain-killing (analgesic) properties
  • Increased subcutaneous fat metabolism
  • Regulation of human lifespan (solar cycles appear to be able to directly affect the human genome, thereby influencing lifespan)
  • Daytime sun exposure improves evening alertness
  • Conversion to metabolic energy (i.e. we may “ingest” energy directly from the sun like plants do)

When it comes to vitamin D production, the benefits are simply immeasurable. In fact, correcting a vitamin D deficiency may cut your risk of dying in half, according to an analysis of more than 10,000 individuals.

According to a January 2013 press release by Orthomolecular Medicine4, 3,600 medical papers with vitamin D in the title or abstract were published in 2012 alone, bringing the grand total to 33,800. Research to date shows vitamin D has far-reaching benefits to your physical and mental health.

Sunlight and Your Health: An EnLIGHTening Perspective

The Crucial Story of Vitamin D and Human Health

A comprehensive explanation of the Vitamin D by Ivor Cummins BE(Chem), CEng MIEI (1 hour 26 minutes video with slides and annotations)

sunshine vitamin - vitamin D – vitamin D from sun exposure