Most people believe that the majority of vitamin D is obtained by the skin in the summer months. In the winter, it is thought that our bodies live off of the vitamin D in fat stores because of the lack of sun exposure during these months. The problem with this way of thinking is that people will think that if they expose themselves to the sun every day, they will have adequate vitamin D levels, which is very likely to be untrue… Indeed, the amount of vitamin D obtained from skin production depends on many variables:
- The latitude of the area you live in. The farther from the equator you live, the less UV-B rays that lead to skin-vitamin D production there are.
- Skin color; Melanin, the substance that affects how dark your skin color will be, negatively correlates with how much vitamin D your skin can produce; there is a difference in efficiency of skin-vitamin D production based on how dark your skin is. The more melanin you have, the darker your skin is. Therefore, the darker your skin, the more difficult it is for it to produce vitamin D, and vice versa.
- The amount of skin exposed to the sun. This varies a lot based on what type of clothing you typically wear.
- The amount of pollution in the air. Pollution particles in the air block the UV-B rays responsible for skin-vitamin D production.
- Your age. The older you are, the harder it is for your skin to produce vitamin D from sunlight.
- The time of the day. On a sunny day, there are many more UVB rays from the sun at noon than there are in the afternoon.
- Being in a car. Even if you are driving on a bright sunny day, the glass limits the amount of UVB rays that come into contact with your skin (assuming your whole upper body is fully exposed, which is rarely the case in today’s society…)
- The weather.If it is a cloudy day, there will not be as much sunlight, and therefore not that many UVB rays potentially exposed to your skin.
As you can see, there are too many variables that affect how much vitamin D we can produce from our skin from sunlight. This is quite important for thyroid patients to understand as vitamin D deficiency and thyroid autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis are strongly correlated. In fact, throughout the years Dr. Arem has observed that many of his thyroid patients suffer from some degree of deficiency of vitamin D. In order to be on the safe side and ensure your body is getting adequate amounts of vitamin D daily, Dr. Arem strongly recommends consistent vitamin D supplementation.
There are a few great vitamin D supplements available on the market today. Among them, we recommend ThyroLife Liquid Vitamin D3 as it is in the liquid form, making it more bioavailable, and designed to be taken on a weekly basis (10,000 IU per dose), which is much easier to keep up with consistently. This liquid vitamin D3 is part of the unique line of supplements for thyroid wellness designed by Dr. Ridha Arem, Houston endocrinologist, world renowned thyroid specialist, and author of The Thyroid Solution.