Sunlight

Exposure to sunlight is the body’s most important source of vitamin D. Having the right level of vitamin D in the blood is associated with a lower risk of death.

The Health Council of the Netherlands therefore recommends that you spend at least 15 to 30 minutes outside between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. every day. Production of vitamin D depends on the duration and intensity of the exposure to sunlight, the surface area exposed, the amount of pigment in the skin and the type of pigment. In northern European countries the intensity of sunlight over the winter months is too weak to trigger vitamin D production.

Please also be aware, however, that exposure to sunlight increases the risk of skin cancer. Use sunscreen to prevent your skin from burning. This has no effect on the production of vitamin D.

Sunlight and your health

There are a number of health effects associated with sunlight.

Sufficient sunlight reduces the risk of osteoporosis

Sunlight is required for the production of vitamin D, which is important for bone metabolism. A daily walk in the fresh air therefore has a positive effect on your bones.

Sufficient sunlight reduces the risk of breast cancer

There are indications that the risk of developing breast cancer is influenced by how much vitamin D you have in your body. Vitamin D has been found to have a protective effect after the menopause in particular. Our bodies produce vitamin D when we are exposed to sunlight. You should therefore make sure that you go outside for a walk regularly.

Sufficient sunlight reduces the risk of bowel cancer

There are indications that a lack of vitamin D increases the risk of bowel cancer. The protective effect of vitamin D could be linked to its anti-inflammatory function in the bowels.

Our bodies produce vitamin D when we are exposed to sunlight. You should therefore make sure that you go outside for a walk regularly.

Sufficient sunlight reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases

here are indications that a lack of vitamin D increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Our bodies produce vitamin D when we are exposed to sunlight. You should therefore make sure that you go outside for a walk regularly.

Sufficient sunlight reduces the risk of a stroke

There are indications that a lack of vitamin D increases the risk of a stroke. Lower levels of vitamin D are often found in people with high blood pressure, which is a risk factor for a stroke.

Our bodies produce vitamin D when we are exposed to sunlight. You should therefore make sure that you go outside for a walk regularly.

iGene Passport

iGene offers you an insight into your personal risks of developing conditions and tells you whether sunlight may be particularly important for you to help prevent certain conditions. In addition, an iGene Passport provides you with information on what else you can do to reduce any risks. Here we focus on behaviour that will help you maximise the benefits to your health. In the publication below you can read more about what iGene can do for you.

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