Vitamin D and the sun

Jul 3, 2024
Vitamin D has increasingly become the focus of attention in recent years. And the sunscreen haters love using Vitamin D as an excuse not to apply sunscreen. The vitamin, which is formed in the skin under the influence of sunlight, is needed for bone formation. Do we perhaps need to go out in the sun more often? (Winter) depression, diabetes and cancer. What is the connection between sun and vitamin D?


We absorb a small amount of vitamin D from our food, for example through oily fish, eggs andf ortified foods. However, the most important source is the sun. Around 90 percent of the required amount of vitamin D is formed in the skin under the influence of sunlight. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that can be stored in the body. This comes in handy when the sun is not shining.

And during the winter months?

In the winter months, the sun doesn't actually shine enough here to be able to produce a sufficient amount of vitamin D. Fortunately, we can then fall back on the reserves built up during sunny periods. However, this is not always sufficient.

Lack of Vitamin-D

Almost half of Germans suffer from a vitamin D deficiency. In particular, senior citizens who spend little time outdoors and people with darker skin are at increased risk. There is increasing evidence that a lack of this vitamin contributes to the development of various diseases. Fatigue and depression, for example, but also muscle weakness, diabetes and various types of cancer. It also has a negative effect on brain function. Nevertheless, prescribing a sun or solarium cure is not a good solution. It is much healthier to eat a healthy diet that provides the body with sufficient vitamin D. A dietary supplement should also be taken if necessary. For risk groups, this is recommended all year round anyway. People with dark skin, children under the age of four, pregnant women or breastfeeding mothers and also men over 70 and women over 50.

A quarter of an hour of sunlight

It is always assumed that around a quarter of an hour of sunlight per day is sufficient for vitamin D production. However, this cannot be said across the board, as age, skin type and any (hereditary) illnesses must be taken into account. There are therefore also people who suffer from a vitamin D deficiency despite ample exposure to the sun. If you are one of those affected, a few minutes of sunshine can make a big difference. Prolonged and intensive exposure to the sun has no additional effect: as soon as the maximum amount has been produced, excess vitamin D is broken down again.

Does sunscreen prevent vitamin formation?

Theoretically, a thick layer of sunscreen with a high sun protection factor could reduce vitamin D production in the skin by blocking the required UVB radiation. However, several studies have shown that the normal use of a sunscreen product, even one with SPF 50, does not affect the development of vitamin D deficiency. This is a good thing, because ultimately the risk of skin cancer is much greater and more dangerous. And unfortunately, this risk cannot simply be reduced by taking a daily dietary supplement.

Enjoy the sun, but with common sense 

Would you like to know whether your vitamin D level is high enough? Then consult your family doctor. Otherwise: enjoy the sun, go outside, but don't forget the sun cream!

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.