Jun 26 2012

Vitamin D – How Natural Sunlight Can Improve Your Health

If like me you’re pretty disappointed with the summer we seem to be having this year you might be quite surprised to learn how the lack of sunlight we’re exposed to could be detrimental to our health!

Vitamin D is probably the single most underrated nutrient in the body, it prevents osteoporosis, depression, prostate, ovarian, colon and breast cancer, helps combat diabetes and obesity, rickets and schizophrenia plus heaps of other benefits and the good news about Vitamin D is it’s FREE! Yes, that’s right; your body actually makes vitamin D itself by the action of sunlight on your skin.

Here’s Ten Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About Vitamin D

  1. Vitamin D is produced by your skin in response to exposure to ultraviolet radiation from natural sunlight; however your liver and kidneys do play a role in its ‘activation’
  2. The particular wavelength of the sunlight required to generate Vitamin D by your skin cannot penetrate glass, so your skin won’t generate it when you’re sitting in the car or in the conservatory at home – if there’s one excuse to buy a convertible or sit outside this has to be it!
  3. Even weak sunscreen (SPF 8) will reduce your body’s ability to produce vitamin D by up to 95%, however the sunscreen industry won’t tell you that. However, this isn’t an excuse to not wear sunscreen!
  4. The darker the pigmentation is in your skin the more exposure you need to sunlight to generate the same amount of vitamin D as fair-skinned people. This is one of the reasons why prostate cancer is more prevalent amongst black men – it’s down to sunlight deficiency
  5. The further you live from the equator the more sun exposure you need to generate vitamin D. So isn’t it any wonder depression is hitting even more of us here in the UK, especially with the way the current summers are going!
  6. If you press firmly on your sternum (breast bone) and it hurts, you’re most likely to be suffering from a chronic vitamin D deficiency.
  7. Vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption by your body during the digestion process – if you don’t have sufficient vitamin D in your body you’ll be unable to absorb enough calcium – regardless of how many calcium supplements you take! This can go on and lead to osteoporosis.
  8. Up to 80% of nursing home patients are vitamin D deficient, wouldn’t it make sense for them to be given a little time outdoors in the sun? …when we actually get some of cause.
  9. More than 50% of the adult population in the UK have insufficient levels of vitamin D and 16% have severe deficiency during winter and spring. (Source British Medical Journal)
  10. It’s almost impossible to get adequate amounts of vitamin D from your diet, sunlight exposure is the only reliable way to generate it. However the good news is sensible exposure to natural sunlight for 2 to 3 times each week will help massively with the production of vitamin D.

So there you have it, maybe we’re not having the summer any of us would want but sensible exposure to natural sunlight is the simplest, easiest and most important ways that you can improve your health!

And with this in mind isn’t it not surprising how much better we feel when we’ve been abroad to a sunny destination on holiday?!

Let hope the weather picks up so we can spend more time making vitamin D