A Day in the Sun: Vitamin D and Overall Health

smile sun

With the recent change in the daylight saving schedule it is hard to miss the fact that we are all enjoying more sunlight in our day.  I know I can feel a visceral difference as the days get longer.  Most will probably agree, there is just something nice about leaving work for the day and having the sun still shining in the sky.  With the waning of winter weather and daylight stretching into the evening hours, I am reminded of how important of a role sunlight plays in our overall health and well-being.

The term vitamin D is a bit of a misnomer as the role of the molecule in the body is more of a hormone.  It has been found to be integral to a plethora of cellular functions throughout the body.  It is an important regulator of calcium and phosphorus absorption.  A vitamin D deficiency can have serious implications on health. It is an independent risk factor for mortality rates across the general population.

 

Science has found direct correlations between sufficient Vitamin D levels in the body and:

 

  • Normal growth and development
  • Bone strength and function
  • Prevention of heart disease
  • Lung function
  • Healthy brain and nervous system function
  • Resistance to certain diseases, such as the flu
  • Mood regulation, deficiency is correlated with anxiety and depression
  • Maintaining a healthy weight

 

As you can see, proper vitamin D intake is an integral factor in overall health.  Believe it or not, the list above hardly touches the surface of all the way vitamin D has been linked to basic functions in the body and prevalence and outcomes of many serious diseases.  It is really imperative to discuss this with your doctor to make sure your levels are where they should be.  They may recommend improving deficient levels with an oral supplement.  However, vitamin D in the form of dietary supplements is much more difficult for the body to absorb. There is no substitute for the bioavailability of vitamin D that is synthesized from the sun through skin.  It is recommended that 10 minutes of sun exposure (without sunblock) 3 times a week should be enough to maintain healthy levels in the body. 

 

So get out there, breathe some fresh air and take an important step in improving your health!

 

-Tim Mavroules

sun heart


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