You’re driving down the road on a sunny day, and feel that warm sunlight hit your arm.
You might’ve wondered to yourself – Can you get vitamin D through a window?
Vitamin D plays a vital role in maintaining overall health and well-being. It is commonly known as the “sunshine vitamin” because our bodies can produce it when our skin is exposed to sunlight.
In this article, we will explore the factors that affect vitamin D absorption and whether sunlight passing through a window can provide an adequate amount of this essential nutrient.
Let’s Understand Vitamin D
Vitamin D is unique compared to other vitamins since our bodies can synthesize it when exposed to sunlight. Ultraviolet B (UVB) rays from the sun interact with a type of cholesterol in our skin, converting it into a precursor molecule called previtamin D3. This molecule then undergoes further transformations in the liver, resulting in calcidiol, and then the kidneys to become active vitamin D, known as calcitriol. These transformations are also known as “hydroxylations”.
Source: National Institutes of Health
So we don’t exactly “get” vitamin D, rather we get the ingredients for our bodies to make Vitamin D. The question “can you get vitamin D through a window”, ends up being slightly misleading because of this. The question should be, “can you get the ingredients needed to produce vitamin D through a window?”.
3 Factors Affecting Vitamin D Absorption
- UVB Intensity: The intensity of UVB rays is crucial for vitamin D synthesis. Factors such as time of day, latitude, altitude, season, and cloud cover influence the strength of UVB radiation reaching the Earth’s surface.
- Sunscreen and Clothing: Applying sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher can block most UVB rays, thereby hindering vitamin D synthesis. Similarly, wearing clothing that covers most of your skin significantly reduces the UVB exposure.
- Skin Color: Melanin, the pigment responsible for skin color, acts as a natural sunscreen. People with darker skin have higher levels of melanin, which reduces their ability to produce vitamin D compared to those with lighter skin.
We still haven’t answered your question, though – can you get vitamin D through a window?
Can you get vitamin D through a window?
Short answer – probably not.
While windows do allow sunlight to pass through, the answer to whether you can get vitamin D through a window is not straightforward. The primary factor to consider is the type of UV radiation that can penetrate glass. Although UVB rays are responsible for vitamin D production, they are partially blocked by most types of glass, including common household windows.
Glass typically filters out a significant portion of UVB radiation while still allowing the passage of UVA rays. UVA rays are responsible for skin aging and have a minimal role in vitamin D synthesis. Consequently, even if you can feel the warmth of sunlight indoors, the glass acts as a barrier to the UVB rays necessary for generating vitamin D in your skin.
Other barriers to vitamin D that you should be aware of
If UVB doesn’t penetrate glass, what does it penetrate? Anything?
Maybe it’s cloudy outside, can you get vitamin D on a cloudy day?
I’ve actually wondered this more than I’ve wondered about glass. The answer is yes, but the amount may be reduced because the clouds do filter some of the UVB rays. Cloud cover obviously varies in density, so scattered clouds will not block as much as storm clouds might.
Where you are in the world will also impact this. It might be overcast, but if you are a few thousand feet up a mountain in Colorado for some skiing or snowboarding you are definitely closer to the sun than you would be if you were on the ground near sea-level. Those UV rays are going to be more intense resulting in you absorbing higher amounts of vitamin D. This also explains why you might get a sunburn on exposed skin if you are up on a mountain, cloudy or not.
If you’re wondering – can you get vitamin D in the shade? – the answer is generally the same. What kind of shade are we talking? What’s providing the shade?
What this all boils down to is if you want to get some vitamin D from sunlight, you should just get yourself outside and let your skin drink in that sunlight. There is no shortage of reasons to get outside and get yourself some of that abundantly free vitamin D. Fresh oxygen isn’t a bad thing to consume either.
Top Natural Sources of Vitamin D
Apologies if we’ve destroyed your plans of staying healthy by sitting inside next to a window, or driving down the road on a sunny day. You will need to have a routine for getting your body what it needs to produce the proper amount of vitamin D to keep your immune system strong.
There are 3 primary sources of natural vitamin D:
- Sun exposure: (Surprise!) The most effective way to obtain vitamin D is through direct exposure to sunlight. Spending time outdoors, especially during midday when the sun’s rays are strongest, can stimulate vitamin D production in your skin.
- Dietary sources: If obtaining sufficient sunlight is challenging, it is essential to include vitamin D-rich foods in your diet. Fatty fish like salmon and mackerel, fortified dairy products, egg yolks, and certain types of mushrooms are excellent dietary sources of vitamin D.
- Supplements: If sunlight and dietary sources are insufficient, vitamin D supplements are available over-the-counter. Vitamin D supplements are a good way to ensure you’re getting the minimum amount necessary. Consult with your healthcare professional to determine the appropriate dosage for your needs.
I’m a little biased, but when it comes to vitamin D supplements, you don’t have to look further than Life Leaf Remedies Immune Armor. Not only do you get 5 to 6 times the daily recommended value, you’re getting several other nutrients that are complimentary to vitamin D.
There is no debate that natural sunlight is the best way to get vitamin D, if you can get it. For those who live in places with less available natural sunlight, you need vitamin D supplements to get your daily recommended amount.
Vitamin D deficiency is not something most folks would voluntarily accept, but a lot of us do because we don’t realize how important vitamin D really is to our body’s health. Future blog incoming…
Armor up and feel better today, y’all!