If you want to improve sun protection with vitamins, then focus on the 'sunscreen vitamins'. According to market studies, the demand for antioxidant-fortified products in cosmeceutical applications is increasing by 8-10% annually with Vitamins B, C, and E having the highest demand. However, vitamin D is coming into it's own league recently with an increasing interest from various scientific bodies running a variety of studies.
The 'sunscreen vitamins' are derived from food and are essential to keep the body healthy and the mind alert. They are vital for the optimal functioning of the various chemical processes that synergistically run the complex system that is our body. Although they do not provide energy or make up our cells or organs, without them the body simply cannot run! A lack of specific vitamins can cause fatigue, poor skin, weak teeth, soft bones, and in any vitamin's case, if severely deficient will lead to a serious illness.
The sunscreen vitamins all interact with other nutrients in processes such as our metabolism, digestion and developing of blood cells. Some vitamins are claimed to slow the aging process down, prevent cancerous cells attacking the body and strengthen the immune system. Vitamins can be differentiated as being either water-soluble or fat-soluble. Vitamins A, D and E are fat-soluble vitamins. Fat-soluble vitamins are absorbed from dietary fats in the intestine and are then stored in the liver until needed. This means that they do not have to be consumed every day. B and C vitamins are water-soluble and they need to be consumed every day as all excess is lost through our urine and there is no means to store them another day.
Water-soluble vitamins play an important part in the break down, metabolism and digestion of protein, fats and carbohydrates and the subsequent release of energy into the body and without an adequate supply of these vitamins, these processes may not be properly completed.
The best source for sunscreen vitamins are fruit and vegetables, which are even better if they are raw, as the vitamins can be lost or just partially lost, through any type of cooking. The longer you cook them the more likely there will be no vitamins left at all.
Vitamin B is involved in chemical reactions which release energy from food. This helps body growth and keeps the nerves, muscles and blood healthy. There are quite a few specific B vitamins though:
Vitamin B1 (Thiamin)
Protects the heart and the nervous system from the build-up of toxic substances and is needed to convert carbohydrates and fats into energy. Addresses specific symptoms in such things as tiredness and fatigue, muscle weakness, nerve damage, confusion and enlarged heart. More common in alcoholics. Best obtained from:
Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
Vital for growth, the production of red blood cells and releasing energy from food. Helps specifically with skin disorders, dry and cracked lips, bloodshot eyes and sore throat. Best obtained from:
Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
Maintains a healthy skin and keeps the digestive system working well. Helps with skin disorders, fatigue, depression and diarrhoea. Best source is to be obtained from:
Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)
It is needed for the metabolism and synthesis of all foods. A deficiency in Vitamin B5 is extremely rare, however, symptoms may include tiredness and a loss of feeling in the toes. B5 is found in all foods in small quantities, but the best food sources are from:
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
Required for the formation of red blood cells and various neurotransmitters, it helps to maintain nerve functions, a healthy immune system and healthy antibodies. Symptoms that it helps to alleviate include skin disorders, mouth sores, confusion, depression and anaemia. Best food sources are:
Vitamin B7 (Biotin)
Biotin is essential in the metabolism and synthesis of essential fatty acids, carbohydrates and fats and the release of energy from these foods. Keeps hair, skin and nails healthy. Deficiency of biotin is rare but can occur if large amounts of raw egg whites are consumed. Symptoms include hair loss or brittle hair, skin rashes and fungal infection. This could lead to depression and muscular pain. Biotin is found in almost all types of food, but the best food sources with high amounts are:
Vitamin B9 (Folic acid)
Folic acid is required for the production of red blood cells, DNA and proteins in the body. It is important for the growth and repair of cells and tissues and is especially important during pregnancy to prevent babies being born with spina bifida. Deficiency causes anaemia, incorrect absorption of essential nutrients and neural tube defects in babies. Best food sources are:
B12 is required for the body's metabolism process and to maintain an efficient nervous system. Deficiency will cause tiredness and fatigue, tingling and numbness in the hands and feet, loss of memory, anaemia and confusion. Best food sources include:
Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid)
Vitamin C is required daily by the body for the formation of collagen, which helps to maintain skin, teeth, gums, tendons and ligaments, as well as helping the body to absorb iron and make blood. Vitamin C also aids to heal wounds quicker, strengthen the immune system and fight cancerous cells. It is required to form neurotransmitters such as dopamine in the brain and helps to reduce any damage to the body from toxic substances and chemicals.
A deficiency in Vitamin C will show itself if you are prone to infections and slower in healing of wounds, have regular dental and gum problems, are fatigued, have a loss of appetite, dry skin, painful joints, anaemia and a slower metabolism. Best possible food sources are:
Vitamin D3 is needed to absorb calcium and phosphorous and strengthen bones and teeth and can prevent the onset of osteoporosis. It is also known as the "sunshine vitamin", as about 15 minutes of exposure to the sunshine, three times a week will enable the body to manufacture most of the vitamin D3 that it needs. A deficiency will cause softening and weakening of the bones, insomnia, nervousness and muscle weakness.
Food sources are not as good as sunshine but the following are the best:
Vitamin E (Tocopherol)
Vitamin E is an important antioxidant that protects the body's cells and tissues from harmful substances and free radicals. As well as preventing cancer, it is also known to prevent cardiovascular and heart disease. Vitamin E is often added to skin creams, due to claims that it may delay the ageing process. Deficiencies are not very common but may include some nerve damage. Best food sources include:
Depending on your circumstances there are some basic sunscreen vitamin supplements that help the optimum functioning of our bodies.
However, if suffering with any sort of illness or disease, there are many people who can recommend a vitamin and mineral routine that has helped them restore their body's health back to a seemingly normal sitauation. Here is an example of the vitamins and minerals mix recommended as suppplements by someone who has recovered from cancer and chemo-therapy 5 years ago. You will see that it includes all of the sunscreen vitamins: