Vitamin D is important for healthy bones, muscles and the nervous system. But how do we get it and how much do we need? Dr Michael Ackland gives us some tips on maintaining our vitamin D levels throughout winter.
Vitamin D is an essential vitamin for all of us, and we need it to allow us to develop healthy bones, healthy muscles and a healthy nervous system.

Vitamin D is mostly produced in our bodies by exposure of our skin to sunlight, or ultraviolet B radiation. Only about 10 per cent of the vitamin D in our bodies is obtained through food that we eat. But that’s not nearly enough to provide us with adequate levels of vitamin D in our bodies.

People who live in Victoria, because of the strength of the sun being relatively weak, are more likely to be vitamin D deficient than people that live in the northern parts of Australia where the sun rays are stronger.

During the winter months, it's a good idea for people to have 2-3 hours of exposure to the sun to their face, arms and hands over the course of a week. That's usually sufficient to maintain vitamin D levels in people who have fair to olive coloured skin.

For people with naturally pigmented skin, during the winter, they probably need between 3 and 6 times that amount of sun exposure.

How much Vitamin D do I need? Fair to olive skin: 2-3 hours per week Pigmented (dark) skin: 8-12 hours per week

The most important thing for people to do in Victoria is to get outside, get into the outdoors and have fun during the winter months.

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This page has been produced in consultation with and approved by: Department of Health and Human Services

Last updated: October 2015

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