Sun can help to get daily dose of Vitamin D — but it also carries risks

Dear Dr. Gott: Does the human body store up vitamin D? I ask because I enjoy basking in the sun.

Dear Reader: Vitamins and minerals are essential to good health. Vitamin D is one of four fat-soluble vitamins that require bile acids for absorption into the body.
Once absorbed, the vitamin is stored in body fat and remains until needed.
While available as a supplement, it is not present in its natural state in many foods. The best source of the vitamin in food is from cod-liver oil, mackerel, tuna and salmon. Smaller amounts are found in mushrooms, cheese, egg yolks and beef liver.
Food items fortified with vitamin D include milk, ready-to-eat cereals, yogurt, orange juice and more.
In fact, eight ounces of milk contain 25 percent of the recommended daily value.
Now on to the sun. Vitamin D is produced when our skin is in contact with ultraviolet rays from the sun.
Most people can obtain adequate amounts of the vitamin in this manner, and the practice is relatively safe.
Keep in mind that there are a number of considerations for exposure, such as smog, cloud cover, the season of the year and latitude at which you live.
Your primary-care physician is your best guide for determining whether you are getting too much sun. I say this because you don’t indicate whether you are naturally fair-skinned or dark, how much exposure you get at any one time or whether you use sunblock. Do you have any medical conditions you failed to mention, and is your diet appropriate? Have you ever been diagnosed with skin cancer?
Many factors enter into a decision.
To provide related information, I am sending you a copy of my newly revised Health Report “Vitamins and Minerals.” Other readers who would like a copy should send a self-addressed stamped No. 10 envelope and a check or money order for $2 to Newsletter, P.O. Box 167, Wickliffe, OH 44092. Be sure to mention the title.


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