Medical researchers are recommending that Britons get out in the sun at midday to top up their vitamin D levels.

Contrary to former advise, in which the public was told to stay out of the sun at midday, scientists have put out a statement to clarify the importance of vitamin D production.  

The best conditions for vitamin D production happen when the sun’s rays are at their peak at midday, however the advise is to only stay in the midday sun for about 15 minutes a day to avoid skin cancer. 

Prof Rona Mackie, of the British Association of Dermatologists, said: “The take home message is that total sun protection with high SPF sun cream all the time is not ideal.”

“Never be red but the general advise is five or 10 minutes of unprotected sun exposure then put the shirt or sunscreen on.”

Prof Peter Johnson, chief clinician at Cancer Research UK also backed this up by saying: “A little sun exposure and often is a good way to get optimal vitamin D levels without adding substantially to the real risk of skin cancer,” he said.

“It is important to strike the right balance with the risk of skin cancer and vitamin D deficiency. This statement is designed to bring some sort of clarity.”

The advise is only relevant for the British summer months, as the rays are  too weak in the UK to stimulate vitamin D synthesis in the skin during winter, and before 10am and after 4pm in summer.

Vitamin D can be obtained from food, however, the prime source comes from the skin’s reaction with ultraviolet B rays. 

The use of sunbeds is not recommended however, as most of the rays produced are UVA, which does not improve vitamin D production.

Diseases such as rickets in children and brittle bones in adults, heart disease, diabetes, MS and some cancers are all linked with vitamin D sufficiency.