Is sunlight the same as vitamin d?

silhouette of woman raising her right hand during sunset photo
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TL;DR

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that promotes the absorption of calcium, regulates bone growth and plays a role in immune function. When we say fat-soluble this means it can be stored by the body.

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Table of Contents

First, a little bit about vitamin d

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that promotes the absorption of calcium, regulates bone growth and plays a role in immune function.  When we say fat-soluble this means it can be stored by the body.

Vitamin D is not the same as sunlight.

Our skin creates vitamin D when it is exposed to sunlight. The major source of vitamin D for most humans is exposure to sunlight.

Lets take a closer look

When the ultraviolet B portion of sunlight enters the skin, 7-dehydrocholesterol, a form of cholesterol is converted to pre-vitamin D3. Pre-vitamin D3 rapidly converts by process to vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 from the skin is bound to the vitamin D–binding protein, whereas vitamin D2 and vitamin D3 from diet are bound to vitamin D–binding protein and lipoproteins. 

  • When you have enough vitamin D3 from exposure to sunlight, your body will slow its production down.

The other way to get vitamin D2 comes from plant sourced foods and vitamin D3 comes from animal food sources.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7781594/?dopt=Abstract https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC552891/

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