Australia, where I live, is probably the skin cancer capital of the world. (It may have something to do with white skinned people adopting an outdoors lifestyle in a sunny climate.)

There was a very good response to this by the Australian government. They ran a huge education campaign about the dangers of skin cancer. (One of the skin cancers, melanoma, is one of the most virulent cancers. If you have a mole that may have changed colour or shape, please get it checked. My partner checked, three years ago now – if she hadn’t then she would very likely be dead by now.)

The government campaign was: slip, slop, slap. (Slip on a shirt, slap on some sunscreen, slap on a hat.)

My partner and I practised this faithfully. We also avoided going out during high the high UV time of day. (This is published online in Australia, for each region, by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology).

In fact it seems that we practised it too well. It seems that my partner may now have a low Vitamin D count (or a very mild deficiency).

The research on Vitamin D and its role in physical and mental health is relatively new. However it does seem that somes things are clear enough to take notice of.

A lack of Vitamin D may be linked to depression and other psychiatric disorders. This is a small study – and I don’t think it proves causation; but it is worth noting.

Vitamin D deficiency has also been linked to some forms of cancer, heart disease and diabetes. A good overview is given in this video from Australia’s ABC TV.

In general the conclusion seems to be that we need about 15 minutes of sun falling on at least 15% of our skin (arms as well as face) each day. To avoid the dangers of skin cancer do this outside the peak times for UV (between 9-3 in most parts of Australia most of the year). This will vary depending on the season and where you live.

You can find information on the symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency and non-medical options for treatment on this page.

Enjoy the summer, if you’re in the northern hemisphere (but look after your skin), enjoy the winter if you’re in the southern hemisphere (and get some sunlight on your skin everyday if you can).


13 Comments to “Vitamin D is Important for Your Health”

  1. Mark says:

    Yes, vitamin D is very important to our well being. It would be interesting to see how this affects people in Alaska where it is dark for 24 hours a day for a good portion of the year.
    It is wise to be aware of the danger of skin cancer. Thanks for raising awareness.

  2. Evan says:

    Hi Mark, those in the far north have particular health problems that may be related to Vitamin D deficiency. They also eat a lot of oily fish, which helps. Thanks for your comment.

  3. Vitamin D is important for our health, indeed. Thank goodness for my daily dose of liquid Vitamn D!

  4. Evan says:

    Thanks for your comment.

  5. Marsha Stopa says:

    A lot of people take Vitamin D to fight seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. I’m still looking for reliable research on whether that is effective and recommended. Are you aware of any?

    Many thanks.


  6. Evan says:

    Sorry Marsha. I have found lots on the link between lack of sun and depression but can’t find anything on whether Vitamin D is part of the story. Apologies, Evan

  7. Marsha Stopa says:

    No apologies necessary. That tracks with what I’ve found, which is why I haven’t recommended that people with SAD take Vitamin D.
    Many thanks.

  8. Chris says:

    I know about Various natural supplements of different vitamins, can you tell me the supplements for vitamin D apart from Sun?

  9. Evan says:

    The foods that contain vitamin D are cold liver oil and some fatty fish. Hardly any others. There are various people who sell tablets of it as supplements. The most important thing is exposure to sunlight, but not too much – especially if you live in a sunny climate like most of Australia.

  10. Chris says:

    Thank you so much Evan.

  11. Craig says:

    I’ve recently made a clear connection to my own anxiety and insomnia and not getting enough sun. It has been happening to me every autumn season but I was never so clear about it. But this year, the first four sunless days and I fell back into a pattern of high anxiety and insomnia that I hadn’t experienced since the previous winter. Once the sun came back out, after two days I’m back to my good ol’ rested cheerful self!

    Anecdotal evidence I realize, but it’s pretty vivid to me.

  12. Yes vitamin D is too much important for health. The people who got under eye circles or wrinkles is due to the deficiency of vitamin D.

  13. Vitamin D deficiency is not good for health so make a good use of it.

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