Commonly referred to as the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D is unique because, if you spend sufficient time bathing in sunlight, your body produces the required amount of vitamin D.
This vitamin is absolutely essential to ensure strong bones and teeth, prevent osteomalacia (weak bones) and fractures.
In fact, vitamin D has been proposed to improve metabolism, prevent and treat diabetes and metabolic syndrome and is linked to weight loss too!
Vitamin D deficiency
Long-term deficiency of vitamin D has a profound impact on the skeleton. Children are predisposed to rickets and adults are at an increased risk of osteomalacia, both of which result in weak bones and skeletal deformities.
Adults are more likely to suffer from osteoporosis (weak, porous bones) and bone fractures. Those who are at a risk for vitamin D deficiency include patients with fat malabsorption, obese individuals, those with limited sunlight exposure, individuals with dark skin, and older adults.
We have always feared to stay under the sun for long. And the little time that we spend outside, we make sure we cover ourselves with sunscreen. God forbid, we don’t want to look a less fair and who cares if our bones go weak and fragile.
Did you know?
any sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 8 or
more blocks vitamin D synthesis in the skin
Obese individuals have an increased risk of vitamin D deficiency.
This is probably because vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin and it is possible that the subcutaneous fat (fat found immediately below the skin, which is known to store vitamin D) seizes more of the vitamin D synthesized in the skin.
How to get vitamin D
Make sure you expose your arms and legs (without sunscreen) to the sun for 5 – 30 minutes between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. at least twice per week. Remember ordinary window glass blocks the UV rays required for vitamin D synthesis.
Also, the sun provides more radiation during the summer months than any other season and sunlight is less intense in the northern and southern hemispheres than near the equator. So during seasons other than summer or if you’re near the poles of the earth, make sure you grab a bit more sunlight than you usually do.
Some of the foods also provide the much-needed vitamin D. These include cod liver oil, fish like sardines, mackerel, herring, salmon, and mushrooms.