Is Getting Vitamin D From Sunshine a Thing of the Past?
Open just about any newspaper, magazine, or website on Health, and you will see an article on Vitamin D. Often there are several articles, many asking if obtaining Vitamin D from sunshine is all that we need. Research has shown that as much as 80% of the population of the United States has insufficient blood levels of this essential vitamin. Because Vitamin D has always been known as The Sunshine Vitamin, many have assumed that simply seeing the sun most days is adequate for supplying the D which our bodies so desperately need.
When sunshine touches human skin, the ultraviolet B, or UV-B, rays are converted into Vitamin D in an amazing molecular reaction. It has been estimated that one needs to be out in the mid day sun for 10-15 minutes each day in order to get the required daily minimum of D so necessary for healthy bones, to promote healthy heart and immune system functions, and to insure the development of healthy cells. Even though the normal adult body has about 10 trillion cells, it is important that each and every one of them remains as healthy as possible, for each cell is its own mini-factory, performing countless functions to continue its part in maintaining a healthy, functioning body.
What are some of the contributing factors of Modern Life in the decrease of this simple, yet essential, nutrient in our bodies?
1- Much of the modern workforce spends all day inside a building, lit primarily by artificial lights; even if there are skylights, the substance making up those skylights most likely reduces the sun’s beneficial rays to almost zero.
2- The farther away from the equator one lives, the greater the risk of receiving inadequate Vitamin D levels from the sun. For most of us who live in the USA, this distance from the equator is vast.
3- Certain foods contain Vitamin D, and many such as milk, cereals, and orange juice are fortified with D. However, trying to get enough D from dietary sources can be extremely difficult.
4- With the breakdown in the ozone layer in our atmosphere, most people are turning to sunblock creams to protect delicate skin from the harmful rays of the sun. Even the weakest sunscreens, ie. SPF 8, can inhibit the body’s ability to produce Vitamin D by as much as 95%. It’s a troubling dilemma; we need the sun’s rays to produce Vitamin D, yet we need to protect our skin from the harm which those same rays can cause skin cells.
5- As we age, our bodies become less efficient in the conversion of UV-B to Vitamin D, while at the same time, aging bodies need D more than ever.
6- For those with darker skin tones and more pigment, which protects cells from the UV rays of the sun, the body simply cannot convert enough sunlight into Vitamin D.
Research studies are concluding that as we get less Vitamin D from sunshine, it is becoming more important than ever to supplement the diet with tablets containing Vitamin D3. It is one of the most economical nutrients to produce, and therefore economical to purchase and consume on a daily basis. A simple test at the Doctor’s office can help ascertain the amount of D to take, as can a number of charts which one can fill out.…