Vitamin D

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is essential for healthy bones and muscles and helps prevent osteoporosis and rickets but one in three Tasmanians don't get enough in summer and two in three are deficient in winter and spring.

Now Tasmanians have clear guidelines to help us prevent or manage vitamin D deficiency (see links at the bottom of the page).

Many Tasmanians fail to get enough vitamin D because of our lower UVB, shorter winter days and our need to cover up in cooler months.

Our bodies make vitamin D when our bare skin is exposed to direct sunlight (UVB) - not through glass. 

For people with darker skin, those who spend a lot of time indoors or those largely covered up when outdoors get even less sunshine.

In 2011, the Director of Public Health set up the Vitamin D Scientific Advisory Group to develop guidelines and produce resources to prevent and manage vitamin D deficiency among Tasmanians.

This expert group was drawn from the Menzies Research Institute, Cancer Council Tasmania, Arthritis Tasmania and many health professionals from across the state.

Safe sun exposure still important

Or course, all Australians are aware of the safe in the sun messages and these are still essential to prevent skin cancer, which kills far too many Australians each year, including many Tasmanians.

So what we need is enough safe sun exposure that takes in to account skin type, the UV Index, lifestyle, health and the strength of the sun at different times of the day and the year.

Routine testing not needed

The expert group does not recommend routine testing of vitamin D levels in all Tasmanians, but does recommended it for people at risk of moderate to severe deficiency. People in this category may need vitamin D supplements.

Links to more information