Sunlight and Vitamin D
There is a close connection between sunlight and vitamin D. In fact, sunlight is necessary for vitamin D to be produced in your body. During the sun exposure, your body will be able to convert inactive vitamin D into its active form.
How Is Vitamin D Produced
● This important vitamin is produced when your skin is exposed to ultraviolet light from the sun. You should spend at least twenty minutes in the sun, at least three times a week, without wearing sunscreen. Most people are afraid of getting sunburns, so they always use sunscreen. However, this will prevent sunrays from reaching your skin and vitamin D will not be synthesized. There is no need to send the whole day in the sun, because you really can get sunburns, but twenty minutes without sunscreen will be beneficial.
Other Sources of Vitamin D – Are They Good Enough?
● Other sources of vitamin D include foods like:
- Animal meat
- Dairy products
- Fortified foods, butter, margarine and milk contain vitamin D
● However, these amounts are far from sufficient. So, the answer to the question is – no, these are not good enough. It will be helpful to consume such foods, but you cannot rely on these sources. You need to spend time in the sun to get vitamin D.
● Although these foods are considered healthy, they simply do not contain the amounts of vitamin D needed for normal functioning of your body. That is why many people (especially vegetarians) need to use vitamin D supplements.
● If you live far from the equator, you will need a longer exposure to sunrays. If you skin is darker, you will also have to spend more time in the sun, unlike fair-skinned people. This is why many dark-skinned people suffer from prostate cancer.
● Normal vitamin D levels are essential for proper calcium absorption. If you lack vitamin D, you are likely to lack calcium as well, which can lead to serious problems with bones and teeth.
● Even if you spend more time in the sun, you cannot overdose with vitamin D. Your body is ‘smart enough’ to know how much it really needs. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about such things. However, you should not spend too much time in the sun, because you can get sunburns.
Vitamin D Deficiency
● Vitamin D deficiency can lead to serious complications. The most common symptoms include:
- High cholesterol levels in blood
- High blood pressure
- Bone fragility
- Rickets in children
● Some of these symptoms are quite non-specific, which can be misleading. That is why vitamin D deficiency is often misdiagnosed. This can be dangerous, because the condition will get worse if left untreated.
What can you do to prevent vitamin D deficiency?
● You can spend at least twenty minutes in the sun, at least three times a week. If you cannot get enough sunlight (for any reason), you have to talk to your doctor about other methods of getting vitamin D.
● Improve your diet and include foods that are high in this vitamin.
● Talk to your doctor about vitamin D supplements.