Vitamin D is essential for good health, but most of us don’t get enough. We should try to get outdoors and have a walk on the beach every day as we are so lucky to live near such beautiful beaches. We don’t have an excuse. It’s just about finding the time.


You only need to be outside for short periods of time, for example around 20-30 minutes – although the exact time isn’t known because it’s different for different people. If you have dark skin you will need longer in the sun. You need to have some skin exposed, for example, your forearms, hands and lower legs.

But you can still make vitamin D even if you sit in the shade. Sitting inside by a sunny window doesn’t cut it because glass filters out the UVB rays – the type of light that is needed to make vitamin D. So outdoors it is!

Why we need vitamin D

Vitamin D helps you absorb calcium and phosphorus from your diet and use these minerals to keep your bones, teeth and muscles strong. This helps prevent breaks from falls as you get older. Vitamin D may have other roles in the body’s immune system and heart health too. A lack of vitamin D can cause bone problems such as rickets (which causes bowed legs) in children and muscle weakness and painful or tender bones in adults.

How we make vitamin D

We get a little vitamin D from food, but we get most of it from good old sunlight. The sun acts on chemicals under the skin and helps turn them into vitamin D. It’s very clever how it does this.

Not getting enough vitamin D

We don’t need vitamin D from food or sunlight every day. But if you don’t get enough over a longer period of time, you won’t have enough vitamin D for good health – known as vitamin D deficiency. Which is extremely common even in our sunny climate. Some people are more likely to have a vitamin D deficiency than others. Supplements and eating foods which contain vitamin D can help.

Protecting your skin

Sun Screen protects your skin from the sun but they also prevent your skin from making vitamin D. If you are going to sit in strong sunlight for some time, or if your skin is sensitive, then you will need to protect your skin so it doesn’t burn. Wear sunscreen and a hat in summer if you’re out for a long time. I am a big fan of hats. The bigger the better and nothing beats white linen and big hats!

Not all sunscreen is the same and some are not oily or think like some people think. They are really important in this climate. Sunspots are not pretty and make the skin look older than it really is, especially on the face and hands.