Tassie winter and vitamin D
During winter in Tasmania it's difficult for our bodies to get enough vitamin D because there is less sunlight, UV levels are low, and we cover up to keep warm.
Our bodies make vitamin D when our bare skin is exposed to direct sunlight (UVB), not through glass. Some people are more at risk of low vitamin D, including people with naturally very dark skin, those who spend a lot of time indoors and those who cover up when outdoors.
Why is vitamin D important for our health?
- It is essential for healthy bones and muscles and helps prevent osteoporosis.
- It helps improve our mood.
- It keeps our teeth healthy and strong.
- It supports our immune system.
How can we improve our vitamin D levels?
- Between May and August, people with fair and olive skin should spend at least 30 minutes in the sun a day at midday.
- Between May and August, people with naturally very dark skin should spend at least 1.5 to 3 hours in the sun around midday. Vitamin D supplements are likely to be required for people with dark skin.
- If someone you know spends a lot of time indoors, invite them to spend time with you outside, especially in the middle of the day in winter. Encourage them to sit outside to share a cuppa, go for a walk around the block together, or potter in the garden to get some sunlight on their skin.
- Small amounts of vitamin D are in some foods. Eat foods with vitamin D like oily fish, eggs and mushrooms exposed to UV light.