Sunny Side Up
Vitamin D is often referred to as the “sunshine vitamin” because it is the only vitamin that is produced in our bodies as a result of exposure to the sun. Ten to fifteen minutes of direct sunlight on skin daily produces all the vitamin D humans need. Because so many people believe that the sun should be avoided, there is a great rise in vitamin D deficiency, but vitamin D deficiency actually contributes to diseases such as cancer.
Vitamin D regulates the absorption of calcium and phosphorous in our bones and teeth, aids in cell to cell communication throughout our body, and helps to maintain proper nerve and muscle function. It’s essential for bone growth, formation, and repair, and also plays a big role in keeping the immune system functioning well. With that being said, it’s pretty important to keep adequate amounts of vitamin D in our bodies.
Because vitamin D plays a big role in keeping the immune system healthy, you might want to consider supplementing with this important vitamin during cold and flu season if you can’t get adequate sun exposure. Studies have shown that people with lower levels of vitamin D are more susceptible to sickness and disease. Various studies have also shown that people who have adequate levels of vitamin D have a much lower risk of developing cancer, compared to those whose levels are low. The severity and frequency of asthma symptoms are also reduced when vitamin D levels are optimal. Because vitamin D plays such an important role in supporting the immune system, some evidence is beginning to show that it may be beneficial in treating autoimmune disorders.
Vitamin D plays a key role in helping the brain work well later in life. This is exciting information when we consider that this vitamin could help prevent Alzheimer’s and other diseases that cause deterioration of brain cells. It’s also important to note that adequate levels of vitamin D help to fight off depression. It’s common knowledge that many people suffer more from depression in the winter months. When sun exposure isn’t an option in the winter, supplementing with vitamin d has been shown to decrease the incidence of depression.
Time to Shine
This vitamin is so important for our bodies to function properly. So get out there in the sun for a few minutes every day, but don’t burn your skin. That’s a no-no. When soaking up the goodness from the sun, you have to remember that moderation is key. Check with your local natural health advisors to find out just how much sunshine in your geographical location is needed, and what time of day is best for beneficial exposure without sun cream. As a general guideline, up to 20 minutes each day is enough, and when you can’t get in the sun for your vitamin D, supplements are available to provide an adequate amount of this vitamin to help you maintain good health.