Are you getting enough sunshine? Can you think of happy sunny days and warmth and feel the glow? Well, there is even more to sunshine than heat, long bright days, holidays and happiness. It is also vital for your health. Your skin processes the sun’s ultra violet rays to make Vitamin D. If you are not getting enough sunshine, you might need to top up, so let’s look at why you need it.
Vitamin D is vital for calcium absorption. It increases the rate of mineral deposits on bones. Without it, the body cannot build or maintain strong bones. It is important that pregnant or nursing mothers have sufficient supply to enable their babies to develop strong bones, without it they are at risk of rickets. To avoid or reduce the risk of osteoporosis as you age, it is essential to ensure your body is getting both Vitamin D and calcium. There are concerns amongst many health care providers that lack of Vitamin D during pregnancy is implicated in Multiple Sclerosis. Vitamin D is essential for people who suffer with weak gum tissue or periodontal disease. Low levels are often found in people with psoriasis. Vegetarians and vegans need to make sure they get plenty of Vitamin D as they won’t get enough from the diet. People taking medication for high cholesterol may need extra because the medications can reduce the body’s ability to absorb Vitamin D. If you get the winter blues or full blown SAD – seasonal affective disorder, Vitamin D is a must. The ‘D’ in depression is a clue to another reason to take this vitamin, research has shown it is often low or depleted in people suffering with depression. And, importantly, Vitamin D is essential for a healthy immune system.
If you eat fish regularly, at least twice a week, particularly Mackerel or Salmon, live in a sun blessed Country and are often outside and have your own freshly laid eggs to eat, you may well be getting enough. For the rest of us, especially during the winter months, it is a good idea to top up. The verdict is still out on whether sunscreen creams block Vitamin D production, but don’t ever over-expose yourself to the harmful effects of too much ultraviolet light and its involvement in skin cancer. Ten minutes 2 or 3 times a day in gentle sun is sufficient. More than that and you must cover up.
The recommended daily adult dose is 1000IU. Make sure you get a good quality Vitamin D3. There is Vitamin D2 on the market. Avoid this as it is not as effective as Vitamin D3. Cheap is not good. Also, remember that Vitamin D is fat soluble. This means that it will accumulate in the body so don’t take more that the recommendation on the bottle, but don’t worry about the sun, the skin is clever and knows when the body has enough. It will simply stop making it.