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DID YOU KNOW? — Vitamin D is unique in that it is naturally produced by the human skin in response to sunlight. Although most people can maintain adequate levels of the vitamin from day to day sun exposure, many people in Australia are deficient either due to belonging to a group that is at high risk such as the elderly and those with dark skin. Increasingly, fair-skinned people who are simply vigilant with sun protective measures are also found to be deficient. In many people, casual everyday sun exposure is inadequate to maintain their vitamin D levels.⁠

Adequate vitamin D is unlikely to be achieved through dietary means alone for most Australians. To maintain adequate vitamin D levels it is recommended that the hands, face and arms be exposed to 5-15 minutes of sunlight 5 times a week. A greater frequency is required for those who are older or have darker skin. Alternatively, particularly for patients who are vigilant with sun protection, a vitamin D supplement of at least 400 IU (10 ìg) per day can be taken (those who are found to be deficient in vitamin D on testing require higher doses). There are many commercially available supplements that contain vitamin D, several of which also contain calcium.

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