Vitamin D – the sunshine vitamin
Meet the sunshine vitamin – hello Vitamin D!
Vitamin D, known as the sunshine vitamin, is produced by the body as a response to sun exposure.
It can also be consumed in food or supplements, but since we live live in one of the sunniest countries on earth I thought of giving you another reason to visit the beach as often as possible.
What is vitamin D exactly?
Vitamin D is actually not a vitamin.
Vitamins are nutrients that cannot be created by the body and therefore must be taken in through our diet.
Vitamin D is different as it is synthesized by our body when our skin is directly exposed to sunlight. So its considered a pro-hormone and not actually a vitamin.
Why do I need Vitamin D anyway?
Having enough vitamin D is important for many important bodily functions, healthy bones and teeth and protecting you against conditions such as cancer, type 1 diabetes, and multiple sclerosis.
Vitamin D helps maintain healthy bones and teeth. We need vitamin D to absorb calcium in the intestines and to reclaim calcium that would otherwise be excreted through the kidneys. When we get deficient in our adult life we see signs of osteomalacia (softening of the bones) or osteoporosis. Osteomalacia results in poor bone density and muscular weakness. Osteoporosis is the most common bone disease among post-menopausal women and older men.
Vitamin D also supports the immune and nervous system while helping us maintain optimum lung function and cardiovascular health.
In addition it regulates insulin levels and aids in diabetes management. Several studies have shown an inverse relationship between blood concentrations of vitamin D in the body and risk of type 2 diabetes.
Vitamin D is extremely important for regulating cell growth and for cell-to- cell communication, influencing more than 200 human genes, which could be impaired when we are vitamin D deficient.
Why are you telling me this?
Ever more often studies suggest that a big percentage of the global population is vitamin D deficient. Which is no surprise considering the amount of people that work in doors, not to mention the number of leisure activities that take place indoors as well.
So how much vitamin D do I need?
The amount of vitamin D a person needs depends on their age.
About 5-10 minutes of sun exposure 2-3 times per week allows most people to produce sufficient vitamin D, but since it breaks down quickly consistency is key, a perfect excuse not to skip the beach!
Of course don’t forget to put on sunscreen if you are going to enjoy a long stay in the sun, especially around noon time.
Now, if you wish to supplement, then it would be best to consult with your physician!
But for now you have one more good excuse to hit the beach and get a glowy tan! Your body will thank you for it!