A Healthy Dose of Sun

Sun Shinging Through Leaves

For Natural Vitamin D

We all know that overexposure to the sun can cause harm. Sunburns are painful, and ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a contributing risk factor for skin cancer.

But it’s not all bad. The sun’s energy is critical for life on Earth, and indeed, moderate exposure can play a positive role in our individual health as well.

Exposure to UV-B radiation (highest during the midday sun) stimulates skin cells to produces vitamin D. This, in turn, helps the body absorb the important minerals calcium, phosphorous, and magnesium. Calcium, in particular, is important for maintaining strong teeth and bones.

While no level of “tanning” is considered safe, fair-skinned individuals can get enough vitamin D by spending just 5-10 minutes in short sleeves during the midday sun. Individuals with a dark complexion living in temperate climates such as the US can take up to 6 times longer to create the same amount of vitamin D. At that level of time in the sun you may be causing more harm than good, so be sure to include sources of vitamin D in your diet. During the winter months, this applies to everyone, as UV-B radiation typically doesn’t penetrate the atmosphere enough to provide any vitamin D benefits.

Dietary Sources of Vitamin D

  • Often fortified in milk, soy milk, and orange juice.
  • Fatty fish such as tuna, salmon, etc.
  • Egg Yolk
  • Cheese

Furthermore, a little time in the sun has been shown to elevate mood and combat depression. So get a healthy dose of the sun—it’s good for your smile in more ways than one!

About Dr. William J. Black

William Black earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Chemistry from the University of California, Davis in 1988. He then went on to the UCLA School of Dentistry where he graduated in 1992. Following dental school, Dr. Black served in the U.S. Navy for 3 years as a dentist. He then settled in the Sacramento area where he opened his practice in 1996. Dr. Black is a member of the American Dental Association (ADA), California Dental Association (CDA), Sacramento District Dental Society (SDDS), Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), and the Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD). He is currently pursuing Mastership with the Academy of General Dentistry and accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. Dr. Black has 8 children, works actively with the Boy Scouts of America, and enjoys gardening.


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