Vitamin D: So you get enough of the sun vitamin

Vitamin D: So you get enough of the sun vitamin

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Body's own vitamin D formation through summer sun exposure

Vitamin D is one of the vitamins that is often lacking. A vitamin D deficiency can have drastic effects, especially on bone health. In order to “fill up” with enough of the important vitamin, you should stay outside regularly, especially in the warm season.

Vitamin D is essential for bone health. As the Consumer Advice Center South Tyrol explains in a recent release, the vitamin regulates the calcium and phosphate metabolism and promotes the absorption of calcium from the food in the intestine. When sunlight shines in, the human body forms vitamin D in the skin itself.

Vitamin D deficiency can have serious consequences

According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), vitamin D deficiency can have a significant impact on bone health. The most serious consequences are decalcification and ultimately softening of the bones.

In infants and children, this can lead to rickets, which means serious bone growth disorders and permanent skeletal deformities, including rubbing in the growth plate area.

In addition, decreased muscle strength, decreased muscle tone and an increased susceptibility to infections are often observed.

In adults, there may be deformation of the supporting bones, bone pain and muscle weakness as well as loss of strength - and thus the clinical picture of osteomalacia.

Another disease that vitamin D deficiency can contribute to is osteoporosis, which, according to the RKI, manifests itself primarily in old age.

Stays outdoors

But how does the important vitamin get into the body? As a rule, the body produces 80 to 90 percent of the vitamin in the skin itself - with the help of sunlight, more precisely UV-B radiation. A stay outside is necessary, writes the RKI.

According to the consumer advice center in South Tyrol, the sunshine from March to October is sufficiently strong in our latitudes to enable a good supply through the body's own vitamin D formation.

No excessive sunbathing is necessary: ​​regular short stays (15 to 25 minutes) or walks in the fresh air are sufficient.

"Specifically, it is recommended to expose the face, hands and arms two to three times a week and only for a short time without sunscreen," explains Silke Raffeiner, nutrition expert at the South Tyrolean Consumer Center.

The skin can also produce vitamin D in the morning and late afternoon and even in the shade. However, the skin should always be protected with a sunscreen, especially at lunchtime.

Come over winter with saved surpluses

In the cold season, however, the sun exposure is too weak to provide the body with enough vitamin D formed in the skin.

This is also shown by a study from Switzerland, which proves that from late autumn to early spring it is by no means possible to synthesize the daily dose of 0.024 milligrams of vitamin D recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) solely with the sun's rays.

However, because the vitamin is fat-soluble and can be stored in the liver, body fat and muscles, it is possible to "provide" in the spring and summer by spending time outdoors and to survive in winter with the excess stored in the body.

The body's own vitamin D formation is so important because only a small part of the need can be met through food, only around ten to 20 percent.

Because only a few foods contain vitamin D: these are mainly fatty sea fish such as salmon and herring, egg yolk, liver and wild mushrooms.

For some people, dietary supplements can make sense

Nutritional societies only recommend taking vitamin D supplements if there is insufficient supply and it is not possible to stay outdoors regularly.

This applies to some older people, to people who are sick or in need of care, but also to people with chronic diseases of the intestine or kidneys.

According to the consumer advice center, a vitamin D supplement is recommended for infants throughout the first year of life. Overdose should be avoided when taking a dietary supplement because it can cause kidney stones or calcification. (ad)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • South Tyrol Consumer Center: Can you “fill up” with vitamin D in the warm season ?, (accessed: 09.06.2020), South Tyrol Consumer Center
  • Robert Koch Institute (RKI): Answers from the Robert Koch Institute to frequently asked questions about vitamin D, (accessed: June 9, 2020), Robert Koch Institute (RKI)
  • A. Religi, C. Backes, A. Chatelan, J.-L. Bulliard, L. Vuilleumier, L. Moccozet, M. Bochud & D. Vernez: Estimation of exposure durations for vitamin D production and sunburn risk in Switzerland; in: Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology, (published: April 16, 2019), Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology

Video: How Our Bodies Make Vitamin D. Corporis (August 2022).