Sunday, June 21, 2015

Vitamin D and the Sun

As many of you know, summer time means summer tans. What exactly is your body doing when you lay out in the sun for hours though? Research shows that the sun is not only turning your skin to leather, but actually initializing the release of vitamin D3 on the skin. Our bodies naturally need a healthy level of vitamin D in order to maintain strong bones. We normally get this from various foods we eat or supplements. The key to this research is the Sun's contribution to vitamin D in our bodies.

Many people believe the Sun "creates" vitamin D when it really causes the skin to release it as vitamin D3. This vitamin moves through our bodies to reach the liver where it produces calcitriol. The new molecule is the active form of the vitamin that leads to stronger bones. Without it, we would all suffer from osteoporosis and be brittle. Now this leads us to question how much Sun is enough to release a healthy amount of vitamin D from the skin?

 According to the article, people are in the Sun for 40-90 minutes out of their normal day. This is about the right amount that humans should get to keep vitamin D at a healthy level. The research shows that tanning in the sun is actually harmful to most people because they are processing too much vitamin D. Artificial ways of tanning like tanning salons are also very harmful to the body. Excess vitamin D leads to kidney stones and the excess UV rays lead to skin cancer. Some people also suffer from vitamin D deficiency. As stated above, this causes brittle bones and eventually osteoporosis. In the end, make sure that your body gets the Sun it needs. You do not want to be some shut-in that only sees the Sun on the way to work. You also do not want to lay in the Sun for hours on end. A healthy level of exposure is required to live a healthy life.

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