Recent studies into the importance of Vitamin D have revealed that while concern over the effects of sun damage are warranted, Vitamin D deficiency can have substantial implications for overall health and the ability to recover from illness and injury.
Vitamin D and Recovery
In a study conducted in Canada, researchers found that children with low levels of Vitamin D were more likely to get sick, stayed sicker longer and took longer to recovery from surgery. Evaluating more than 300 children across Canada, researchers discovered lower than expected levels of Vitamin D. For children deficient in the vitamin, more extensive interventions were necessary to help them recover from illness or injury, such as breathing tubes or medications to maintain heart function.
Vitamin D deficiency has also been associated with brittle bones, poor mental health, common sinus infections and colds. Vitamin D levels have dropped substantially as concern over skin cancer have increased. With increase use of sun screen products and children spending less time outside playing, naturally occurring healthy opportunities for stimulating Vitamin D production from sun exposure have also decreased.
Vitamin D Benefits
Vitamin D is metabolized through exposure to the sun or through supplements. It serves a vital purpose in health and is integral for multiple health functions.
- Vitamin D helps regulate immune system function.
- Vitamin D may help prevent multiple sclerosis, as shown in a study from the Oregon Health and Science University in which researchers found that the illness is less prevalent in the tropics where sun exposure levels are higher.
- Vitamin D levels are associated with maintaining healthy weight and the ability to lose weight.
- Vitamin D is necessary to help the body absorb calcium and phosphorous which help maintain healthy and strong bones.
- Vitamin D can help reduce asthma symptoms and decrease asthmatic episodes.
- Vitamin D lowers the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis for women.
- Vitamin D is vital for healthy brain functioning in older adults.
- Vitamin D deficiency can be a strong indicator of potential cancer development.
Recommended Levels of Sun Exposure
Fifteen minutes of sun exposure, twice a day, is the recommended level of sun exposure for optimal Vitamin D levels. However, for people who are not able to achieve this level of sun exposure, supplements might be a better option. Recommended supplement amounts are 1,000 IU daily, with higher amounts for older people or individuals with dark skin should be higher.
With changes in how people spend their time and concerns about sun exposure, Vitamin D levels are dropping below healthy levels. However, Vitamin D is integral to health. Spending just a total of 30 minutes in the sun daily can improve your overall health, strengthen bones and improve your mood. The best times to spend time outside are early in the morning or late in the afternoon, when sun rays are less damaging.
What are your favorite ways to spend time outside and soak up some Vitamin D? Let us know what you enjoy doing in the sunshine!
– The Alternative Daily