We have been told sun causes skin cancer and premature wrinkles. We have been instructed to use sunscreen- everyday and we have been advised to avoid the sun at all cost but has this advice cost us our health?
Vitamin D is classified as a fat-soluble vitamin but is actually a prohormone, a precursor of a hormone. Our bodies produce vitamin D through exposure to the sun.
Vitamin D is vital in regulating calcium in order to maintain healthy bones and teeth. Vitamin D is necessary in the prevention of osteoporosis and osteomalacia (softening of the bones).
Vitamin D can help build the immune system. A study in 2017 concluded that vitamin D is associated with reduction of risk of acute respiratory infection.
Low vitamin D levels are associated with increased risk for depression. SAD is seasonal affective disorder and is a type of depression related to seasonal changes. Vitamin D is often referred to as our happy hormone.
Vitamin D can increase insulin sensitivity and perhaps reduce the risk of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Vitamin D alone can not achieve this but along with a healthy diet and healthy lifestyle optimal vitamin D levels can assist in improving insulin sensitivity.
Low levels of vitamin D have been associated with respiratory illness and reduction in lung function. This 2018 study indicates higher vitamin D levels are associated with higher levels of lung function.
Vitamin D has been recognized for its role in assisting in the prevention of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Several studies have concluded low levels of vitamin D have increased risk of heart disease, stroke, hypertension and diabetes.
Vitamin D is good for our bones, teeth, immune system, mood, lungs, heart, and metabolic system but yet we have been instructed to avoid the sun. I am not suggesting spending hours unprotected in the sun, but I am suggesting spending 20 minutes (without sunscreen) in the sun to achieve optimal vitamin D levels.
Healthy sun exposure is vital to our health and does not cause cancer- it can actually can help to prevent some cancers. Over exposure to the sun is what we need to avoid.
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