Starving Dietitian

Time vs. Tan Dilemma

At this point we’ve seen Vitamin D from the Simple and the Philosophical perspective, but I’m guessing you don’t have much take away.

I think there’s more to teaching than just the facts. Information needs to be integrated not compartmentalized. Hence why I’ve taken you from the vastness of space to the atomic level of DNA. In other words, learn the process not the product.

There’s just one problem. The Time vs Tan dilemma. The very thing we need to protect from skin cancer, is one of the leading causes of skin cancer. Just one of natures cruel jokes? More like a brilliant feedback loop.

See humans were never intended to work, live, and play indoors. Our bodies want the sun, need it even. Ever hear of tanning addiction? Yeah that’s a real thing. But at least when you spend half your life outdoors your skin has time to adapt, to form the necessary protections. What do we do nowadays? Spend months hiding away in artificially lit cubicles, then reward ourselves with tropical sunlight.

This should strike you as a dangerous combination.

The evidence on sunscreen is incredibly conflicted, despite what you may have heard. While it does protect from UVB radiation, it also inhibits forming Vitamin D. If you’re never exposed to germs, how can you expect to have a strong immune system? The same goes for sunlight.

Now what you’ve been waiting for. The Ultimate Vit D Takeaway.

1. Don’t shock your skin.

Genes are not quick movers, they take time to turn on and off, to relay the message throughout the body. For this reason, you need to start getting sunlight BEFORE you head to the tropics.


Start building the protections slowly, 10-15 minutes a day and don’t get burnt, it’s a sure sign of DNA damage. As you get darker you can increase the time as tolerated, within reason.

2. Sun first, Sunscreen after.

This may seem counterintuitive, but you need to get some sun before the sunblock is even applied. Anything over SPF 15 is shown to block 95% or more of UVB light, meaning hardly any Vit D. Build up your tolerance by putting it on after your first 15 minutes.

3. Use Diet to Aid Protections. 

We’ve already discussed Polyphenols, but what else can we do? Well, supplement Vitamin D for one. Although I don’t disagree with a vitamin D supplement, you may not want to add another pill to your regimen. Foods highest in D include Fish, Eggs, and Mushrooms, along with fortified foods like milk and cereals.


If you do choose to supplement, make sure it’s D3 not D2. D3 is more readily absorbed and is less often associated with toxicity symptoms. Lastly, take your fish oil! There’s actually a surprising body of research showing that daily fish oil reduces risk and symptoms of sun-burn by reducing inflammation, yet another bonus to taking Fish Oil+D together.

4. You may need a supplement if… 

Despite your best efforts, it’s very possible you may still need to supplement. Those slow moving genes just never considered our ability to go from Africa to Alaska in just a few hours. Darker skinned individuals living further North are at increased risk of deficiency. In fact, it’s been accepted that anyone living above the 37th parallel should supplement with D during the winter months.


Something to keep in mind if you find yourself forgetting what the sun looks like.

Pretty easy right? Get sun, not too much, aid with diet. 

Be good to each other sunbunnies.

– Joshua Iufer

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