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Captured Sunshine
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Vitamin D is a hormone rather than a true vitamin. Despite that, it is vital to health, regardless of age. Summer is the season to stock up on it.

Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium. A lack of Vitamin D retards bone formation. In childhood this can stunt growth, and lead to rickets – a condition that results in softening and weakening of bones. In adults a Vitamin D deficiency fosters osteoporosis.

Low levels of Vitamin D appear to aggravate hypertension, promote obesity, trigger Seasonal Affective Disorder, and increase the onset of type 2 Diabetes. It is also linked to the onset of Muscular Sclerosis. Low levels of Vitamin D are also associated with a higher risk of falling, especially among the elderly.

How can you ensure that you have adequate reserves of Vitamin D?

Sources of Vitamin D include fish, cheese, eggs and Vitamin D fortified milk. Vegans can get Vitamin D through mushrooms and Vitamin D fortified tofu products, or vitamin D fortified breakfast cereals.

Vitamin D Factory

There are two types of Vitamin D: Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). Your body produces Vitamin D3. When your skin is exposed to sunlight, it converts cholesterol to cholecalciferol. It does not take much sunshine. Fair-skinned folks only need 45 minutes of exposure every week to produce enough D3 to meet your daily requirement of Vitamin D for health. If you have a dark completion you need more time in the sun – three to six hours a week. Direct sunshine on your face, arms, back or legs is all it takes to turn you into a Vitamin D factory.

Vitamin D is fat-based, and the body stores the Vitamin in fatty tissues, including any excess you produce during sunny days.

Sunscreen and glass both inhibits production of Vitamin D, however. Cover yourself with SF20 sunscreen and you can spend the day in a cave as far as getting your daily dose of vitamin D. Similarly, your commute home might give you a trucker’s tan, but unless your window is down with the sun shining through it, you will produce little Vitamin D.

The solution? Hold off applying the sunscreen the first few minutes that you are out in the sun. Ten minutes a day – the equivalent of the time it takes to walk half a mile – should do you.

What if you need more Vitamin D than you can get through diet and sun exposure? Check with your doctor, but commercial supplements are available.

Get your Vitamin D. It is captured sunshine. The long days of summer are a great time to catch some.

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By Mark N. Lardas Copyright © 2013 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines



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