Why is Vitamin D called Sunshine Vitamin? Because the best source of Vitamin D is sun exposure. The two ways to get Vitamin D are by exposing your bare skin to sunlight and by taking vitamin supplements. You can’t get the right amount of Vitamin D from food. Human skin can make large amounts of Vitamin D when lots of skin is exposed to the sun.
Vitamin D is important for a good overall health and plays an important role in making sure our muscles, heart, lungs, and brain functioning.
Some of the Vitamin D rich foods are listed below –
|Cheese, Milk, Butter|
|Mushrooms, Tofu, Soya||
|Sour Cream, Yogurt||
How long should a person spend in the sun to get enough Vitamin D?
It is very tricky and varies from person to person. It also depends on the color of your skin or how easily you get sunburns, the thickness of ozone layer, the time of the year or what time of day it is.
- Time of day – if exposed during the middle of the day, the skin produces more Vitamin D.
- Where you live – the closer you live to the equator, the easier it is to produce vitamin from sunlight all year.
- Color of your skin – pale or white skin makes Vitamin D more quickly than darker skin.
- The amount of skin exposed – The more you expose skin to the sun, the more vitamin body will produce.
It is believed for short daily period of sun exposure without sunscreen for about 10-15 minutes (for lighter skinned people) during summer months.
Exposing your skin to the sun for too long as skin burns are dangerous. This can increase the risk of developing skin cancers. Moderate but frequent sun exposure is healthy but overexposure and intense exposure can increase the risk of skin cancer.
After exposure of skin, it takes half the time to begin burning sensation. So cover up with clothes and go to the shade. Using sunscreen doesn’t prevent all types of skin cancer but can use sunscreen that blocks both UVA light and UVB light.
Table showing different skin types –
|Skin Color||Skin Characteristics|
|Pale, Very fair||Burns very easily
Tans with difficulty
Sometimes mild burn
|IV||Caramel Brown or medium brown||
Does not burn
|VI||Espresso or Black||
Tan very quickly
Common causes for lack of Vitamin D –
- Limited exposure to sunlight – People in northern latitudes wear long clothes or who have jobs mainly indoors. Also, sunscreen inhibits vitamin production.
- Age – As you get older body tends to produce less Vitamin D.
- Dark skin – People with dark skin have high levels of melanin which reduced the skin’s ability to make vitamin when exposed to the sun.
- Kidney and Liver function – These organs play a very important role in converting Vitamin d to its active form. When kidney or liver is affected by some disease making a reduction in the ability of the organs to create Vitamin D biologically.
- Strict Vegetarian diet – Food sources that contain Vitamin D are mostly animal based such as fish, egg yolks, cheese, milk etc.
- Digestive Problems – Certain medical conditions such as Crohn’s disease, cystic fibrosis, and celiac disease can reduce the ability of intestines to absorb Vitamin D from food.
- Obesity – It may cause low Vitamin D levels. Research suggests that vitamin may get ‘trapped’ in fat tissues so less available in blood circulation.
Health benefits of Vitamin D –
- Aids in absorption of calcium which improves bone health, including teeth.
- Fight with infections such as cold, flu.
- Naturally boosts the immune system.
- Destroys bacteria and viruses.
- Lowers pressure levels.
- Lowers the risk of deadly cancers such as breast cancer, lung cancer, ovarian cancer, skin cancer, prostate cancer and many more.
- Helps to maintain cell growth.
- Assists in reducing high blood pressure, thereby reducing the risk of heart attacks.
- Beneficial impact on all autoimmune diseases.
- Boosts mood and overall sense of well-being.
- Improves DNA repair.
- Increases energy levels.
- Aids in relieving depression.
- Reduces the risk of pre-eclampsia in pregnant women.
- Improves muscle strength, including the heart.
- Reduces oral inflammation which helps combat periodontal diseases.
Warning Signs of Vitamin D Deficiency-
- Aching Bones
- Muscle Weakness
- Weight gain
- High Blood Pressure
- Head Sweats
- Chronic Health Problems
- Restless Sleep
- Constantly tired
- Constipation or Diarrhea
- Poor Concentration
- Dark Skin
Diseases associated with Vitamin D deficiency-
- Osteoporosis and Osteopenia
- 17 varieties of Cancer
- Heart Disease
- High Blood Pressure
- Metabolic Syndrome and Diabetes
- Autoimmune diseases
- Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Infertility and PMS
- Depression and Seasonal affective disorder
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Rickets in Children
- Cardiovascular Disease
Due to this deficiency, many people especially aged faces a lot of difficulty in their joints which restrict them from standing and walking for long but if taken care from very early it can be gained easily. And if it doesn’t cost you anything why not to take benefit from it.