Let the sunshine in

October 02, 2015 0 Comments

Pretty image from  mytanningtips.com

Did you know that without adequate levels of Vitamin D in your body, any calcium that you consume can not be absorbed?

Did you also know that it is nearly impossible to get adequate amounts of vitamin D from your diet? You would have to drink at least 10 tall glasses of vitamin D fortified milk each day just to get the bare minimum. Or you can just spend some time in the sun. Yes I just said the dreaded S word.

It seems the Skin Cancer message has been a little too effective. We have slip, slop, slapped and grown very fearful of the sun. While this may help reduce skin cancer rates, it has also created another serious problem - Vitamin D deficiency. 

Right at this very moment 40% of the world is deficient in vitamin D!

This amazing vitamin helps prevent osteoporosis, depression, prostate cancer and breast cancer, and even effects diabetes and obesity. It even helps reduce acne!

Vitamin D is perhaps the single most underrated nutrient in the world of nutrition, and the best bit is that it’s free! Your body NATURALLY makes it when sunlight touches your skin. How clever is that?

Now I know many of you are thinking, but what about the damaging effects on your skin like wrinkles and skin cancer?

This is a valid concern.

You don't need to fry yourself in the sun, just a little every day will go a long way. But there's a catch - the healing rays of natural sunlight that generate vitamin D in your skin cannot penetrate glass. Meaning you can't generate vitamin D while you're sitting in your car, home or sunny office. Sunscreens (even the weakest kind like SPF 8) block your body’s ability to generate vitamin D by 95%. 

You only need to expose your skin for around half the time it takes for your skin to turn pink and begin to burn.

The amount of vitamin D you get from exposing your bare skin to the sun will depend on:

  • The time of day – your skin will produce more vitamin D if you expose it during the middle of the day.
  • Where you live – the closer you are to the equator, the easier it is for you to produce vitamin D from sunlight all year round (There's scientific evidence now to back your next jaunt to Bali).
  • The colour of your skin – pale skins make vitamin D more quickly than darker skins.
  • The amount of skin you expose – this is a no brainer. More skin = more vitamin D production.

source: http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/about-vitamin-d/how-do-i-get-the-vitamin-d-my-body-needs/

You can also get vitamin D by taking supplements. This is a good way to get vitamin D, especially if you're deficient or can’t get enough sunlight, or if you’re worried about exposing your skin.

How do I know if I'm deficient?

Having a blood tests to measure the amount of vitamin D in your blood is the only way to know if you’re getting enough vitamin D or not. You can also press firmly on your sternum, if it hurts, this might be a sign that you're deficient but get a test to make sure.

Can I get too much Vitamin D?

Absolutely. You can't get too much from the sun because your body knows how to regulate it, but if you are taking supplements you can develop vitamin D toxicity, and  hapens if you take 40,000 IU per day for over a long period of time, or take a very large one-time dose.

Vitamin D is important if you're trying to conceive or currently pregnant!

If you're trying to conceive, or currently pregnant, vitamin D is crucial for your baby's development. A deficiency is believed to play a key role in increasing your baby's risk of diabetes, multiple sclerosis and colon cancer.

In fact, a recent systematic review found that women with vitamin D levels greater than 50nmol/L were more likely to conceive than women with a vitamin D deficiency. However, it's important to note that vitamin D supplements were found to be of no benefit for women with already healthy vitamin D levels.

Vitamin D is important as you age.

Low levels of vitamin D are common in older age and is linked to speedy decline in cognitive function. Recent research suggests that lower levels of vitamin D may lead to a higher risk of Alzheimer's and Dementia.

So there you have it folks, with all this good sun it's time to top up, sensibly. Like everything, it's all about moderation.



Image borrowed from mytanningtips.com

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