Has anyone ever told you to go outside to get your Vitamin D?
Well you should thank them for their advice, because we are learning so much more about vitamin D deficiency. Getting some extra sunlight was once a lifesaving treatment and could potentially be just what you now need to improve all aspects of your health.
Why is Vitamin D important?
Vitamin D is needed in the body to help with the absorption of calcium. No Vitamin D = no calcium.
Without calcium being absorbed properly you are prone to all sorts of conditions which might seem unrelated to how much sun you are getting, but it could be just the thing you are lacking.
Exposing your skin to the sun for just 20 minutes per day is all that is required for the ultraviolet B rays to interact with the cholesterol in the skin which provides the body with the energy to synthesise its own vitamin D.
Benefits of having good Vitamin D levels
- Bone health improves. Absorbing calcium properly will help keep you strong.
- Vitamin D plays a role in the regulation of insulin in your body.
This is important particularly if you have type 2 diabetes.
- It is important for lung function and cardiovascular health.
- There is also evidence that shows that weight loss it attributed to healthy vitamin D levels.
- Vitamin D helps our immune systems stay balanced during the cold and flu season. Low levels of vitamin D have been associated with frequent infections.
Who is at risk of Vitamin D deficiency?
By far the most cases of Vitamin D deficiency are due to the lack of exposure to the sun’s rays.
Therefore, some people are at higher risk than others, depending on a few factors.
It is common for your Vitamin D levels to drop during autumn and winter.
Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD is a serious condition that is linked to low Vitamin D levels. SAD is a form of depression and if you or someone you know is having symptoms, seek medical help immediately.
People who live closer to the equator tend to see a lot more sun than people who live closer to the poles or higher altitudes.
Testing shows that where you live has an important role to play in your vitamin D levels.
If you work in an office or somewhere with very little natural light, like a hospital, it may well be that you will go the whole day without ever seeing the sun. It has been said that it is important to get at least 20 min each day to avoid being deficient.
It is also worth pointing out that having too much exposure to the sun is quite harmful to your health due to the over exposure to the harmful UVB rays.
People with higher than usual body fat levels struggle to synthesize the pro-hormones in the same way.
This means that people who struggle with obesity are at much more at risk of being deficient. Furthermore healthy levels of Vitamin D are also connected to weight loss.
As with many things, when you get older your body simply becomes less efficient at producing vitamin D, and as mobility decreases getting that ever important time in the sun becomes less likely putting elderly people at a much higher risk of deficiency.
Is Vitamin D a cure for sickness?
From 1918 - 1920 the Spanish flu, which was a deadly H1N1 influenza A virus, was sweeping the globe.
Due to the lack hospital beds many of the patients were nursed from outside in tents and often in the sun. They noticed that these patients seemed to fare much better than the ones who stayed inside. In fact, before antibiotics became the standard treatment, "ventilation open air therapy" was how other respiratory diseases like tuberculosis were managed.
Now with COVID-19 we are seeing even more evidence that sunlight is indeed germicidal, and can potentially kill viruses.
Days where corona virus cases have fallen do coincide with a burst of sunny days where people are spending more time getting sun on their skin and also healthy amounts of vitamin D.
We really have only started to scratch the surface in this blog when it comes to the science, but we do know it is vital for living a healthy life, which is what we are all about at ibuy. So yes, today is a great day to start eating your lunch outside in the fresh air and sunlight!