Our Sunlight Campaign reminds people across the UK to get outside for a few minutes every day between May and September to boost their vitamin D levels.
Why do we need vitamin D?
Vitamin D has been long known to improve bone health, by helping our bodies process calcium effectively – it is essential for bone and muscle health as it promotes calcium absorption from our food.
Our bones need vitamin D to make them strong and vitamin D may play an important role in muscle function.
So, how can I boost my vitamin D?
- Safe sun exposure on bare skin is the best natural source of Vitamin D. Vitamin D helps our bodies to process calcium effectively and is essential for healthy bones.
- Exposure to sunlight every day between 11am and 3pm from May until September will increase Vitamin D and help to keep bones healthy
- You should try to get 10 minutes of sun exposure to your bare skin, once or twice a day (depending on skin type), without sunscreen and taking care not to burn.
- Always take care not to burn, especially during the strong sunshine in the middle of the day. Babies and children have very sensitive skin and need careful protection.
- Even on cloudy days, your body can still produce Vitamin D from sunlight but it can take a little longer.
- Make sure that you are actually outside. Your body cannot produce Vitamin D even if you are sitting by a window or in a conservatory on a sunny day. You must be outside.
- Only a small proportion of vitamin D comes from the food we eat, but it is still important to include vitamin D rich foods in your diet, such as oily fish and eggs. Many margarines, breakfast cereals and dairy alternatives are fortified, but do check the label.
- If you are 65+ years, not exposed to much sun (e.g. housebound or cover-up for cultural reasons) or a pregnant or breast-feeding woman, you should consider taking a daily, 10 micrograms (400IU), vitamin D supplement.
If you are fair-skinned, have lots of moles and freckles or have a family history of skin cancer, you should be particularly careful in the sun to reduce your risk of skin cancer, and avoid the strong sunshine in the middle of the day.
Vitamin D quiz on your mobile
Find out how much you know about vitamin D
This quiz is designed primarily for mobile and tablet devices. However, it will also work on the latest versions of desktop web browsers. If it doesn't work for you try upgrading your web browser to the latest version.
Take the quiz
Help us spread the word
Please support the sunlight campaign by downloading and printing this poster. Put it up wherever you can. Ask your GP, pharmacist or local shopkeeper if you can display it on their premises.
Follow the campaign on twitter
We will be tweeting any updates and news about the Sunlight Campaign on twitter.
It's really important as many people as possible learn about how vitamin D helps build strong bones and how to get vitamin D naturally and safely from the sun. So please share this page with your friends on facebook by clicking the 'recommend' button below.