When Gwyneth Paltrow fractured her tibial plateau in 2007, her doctors discovered she had the beginnings of bone-thinning osteopenia and the lowest vitamin D levels they had ever seen. Their prescription: vitamin D supplements and some SPF free time in the sun.
Now an innovative new Australian sunscreen brand named Solar D will provide Paltrow and others with broad-spectrum sun protection while allowing vitamin D synthesis. Traditional formulas block the production of vitamin D, which is created in your skin through direct exposure to rays. To counteract this, some doctors recommend five to 30 minutes of unprotected sun time at least twice a week.
“Vitamin D is critically important — from birth until death,” says Dr. Michael F. Holick, an endocrinologist at Boston University School of Medicine and expert in vitamin D research. He teamed up with Solar D to develop the patent- pending product — the first of its kind, say its creators.
In fact, using Solar D instead of traditional formulas in the same SPF allows up to 50 percent more vitamin D production, says Holick, who has no financial interests in the company.
The “sunshine vitamin” is tied to a host of health benefits — everything from strong bones and teeth and improved fertility to lowered risk of diseases such as cancer and Type 1 diabetes. But fears of skin cancer and wrinkles have resulted in people staying out of the sun or covering up. That’s created what some are calling a vitamin D deficiency epidemic: According to a 2010 nutrition study, nearly 42 percent of US adults showed insufficient vitamin D levels.
“We’ve recognized that part of the sun is very good for you,” explains Solar D managing director Mathew Collett. “We’re letting in as much [of the vitamin D-activating rays] as we possibly can, but still getting an SPF of 30.”
Solar D is set to hit the US in June via amazon.com and will be available in SPFs 30 and 50.
“When you’re exposed to sunlight you feel better,” says Holick, who’s tested the sunscreen and says it works. “Now you can have your cake — and eat it too.”
On the beach, of course.