Let the Sun Shine

Heading to the beach in the last days of summer? Be sure to catch as many rays as you can.

Ultraviolet B rays from the sun are a great source of Vitamin D, a fat-soluble vitamin that is necessary for bone health and promotes absorption of calcium. In addition, Vitamin D benefits our hearts, lungs, and brains as well as helps fight infection. (1,2)

Low levels of Vitamin D have been seen to occur in babies who are breastfed, older adults whose skin is less adept at absorbing Ultraviolet B rays and whose kidneys are less efficient at conversion to a usable form; people with dark skin, as higher levels of melanin compete for absorption of Ultraviolet B rays; and obese people, as body fat can prevent Vitamin D from being absorbed. (7,8)

Symptoms of low Vitamin D levels include a sweaty forehead, bone pain, depression, fatigue, poor sleep, and getting sick often. (10) People with low levels of Vitamin D are at risk for developing breast, colon, and prostate cancers; high blood pressure; osteoarthritis; and immune-system disorders. (9)

Our bodies do not produce Vitamin D naturally. Instead, we absorb the vitamin from the sun, ingest it in Vitamin D-rich foods, and sometimes take supplements. (1) We absorb Ultraviolet B rays from the sun through our skin. Generally, only about 25 minutes of sun exposure/day is sufficient to maintain healthy levels of Vitamin D and we don’t need to get a sunburn or even a tan. In fact, even if we wear sunscreen most of the time, we can still absorb the necessary amount of Ultraviolet B rays. (35)

Supplements are another good source for Vitamin D, but proceed with caution as too much Vitamin D can be toxic! Our bodies have a system in place to stop too much Vitamin D being absorbed naturally, but we can take too much in the form of supplements. Symptoms of too much Vitamin D include vomiting, constipation, and dangerous amounts of calcium in the body. (9)

Diet is great source of Vitamin D through fatty fish like tuna and salmon, beef liver, cheese, egg yolks, yogurt, mushrooms, and foods fortified with Vitamin D (such as milk, orange juice, and some cereals). (6,7)

Try a few of these Vitamin D-Rich Recipes!

  1. http://www.health.com/health/recipe/0,,10000001996452,00.html
  2. http://www.healthyfood.co.uk/recipe/grilled-salmon-burgers-caper-dressing/

 

References

  1. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/
  2. https://www.vitamindcouncil.org/about-vitamin-d/what-is-vitamin-d/
  3. https://www.vitamindcouncil.org/about-vitamin-d/how-do-i-get-the-vitamin-d-my-body-needs/
  4. http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20504538,00.html#sunlight-0
  5. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/6-things-you-should-know-about-vitamin-d
  6. http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/guide/calcium-vitamin-d-foods
  7. https://medlineplus.gov/vitaminddeficiency.html
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3356951/
  9. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/27/health/27brod.html
  10. http://www.rd.com/health/wellness/vitamin-d-deficiency-symptoms/

Published by

Kristin Hanratty

Kristin Hanratty grew up in Wayne and has lived and worked as an editor in the Philadelphia area for more than 10 years. Kristin enjoys any combination of the following: good food, passable wine, cozy mysteries, and baking for friends and family.