When you expose your skin to the sun, your body begins the production of vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin. It plays a very important role in the proper functioning of many organs and tissues of the body. According to a recent study, almost 40% of Americans experience a deficiency in vitamin D. People who avoid being in the sun or don’t get a sufficient amount of it may suffer from different negative consequences.
Bright Side gathered the most common symptoms of the “sunshine vitamin” deficiency and their manifestation.
Calcium and vitamin D have long been recognized as important and necessary nutrients for bone health and mineralization. Calcium is absorbed in the small intestines with the aid of vitamin D. The deficiency of the “sunshine vitamin” leads to the decrease of calcium absorption, and as the result, the weakening of the bone structure. People who don’t obtain a sufficient amount of sunshine suffer from bone pain, muscle weakness, rickets, osteomalacia, and osteoporosis. It’s very important to maintain an adequate dose of vitamin D in your body. The main sources of vitamin D are sunlight, healthy diet, and supplements.
Since vitamin D facilitates the absorption of phosphates and calcium through digestion, it can be very useful in dealing with bone-related problems. The lack of calcium in bones results in changes of bone structure and their deformation. Increasing vitamin D intake in the form of supplements or by exposing yourself to sunlight can help many people maintain a proper calcium level in their bones and cells. Vitamin D could be used to control or prevent chronic foot pain, especially that which is related to conditions like osteoporosis, plantar fasciitis, arthritis and other inflamed joints and tendons.
Studies have shown that low sun exposure and, therefore, an insufficient amount of vitamin D in cells can eventually lead to the development of colorectal cancer. Vitamin D levels determine the survival and growth of cancer cells. Sufficient levels of vitamin D are associated with better overall survival of colon cancer patients. Additional clinical trials are necessary to assess whether vitamin D supplementation could help prevent or reduce the risk of the development of colorectal cancer. Find out if your vitamin D levels are too low by taking a blood test. The optimal level is above 30 nanograms per milliliter.
Modern society is centered around desk jobs and computers and you can’t surprise anyone with late hours at the office. People tend to spend more time in front of the computer instead of taking walks or just spending time outside. Even when we have time to rest, we watch TV shows or play video games. As it turns out, the sun plays a very important role in placing a smile on your face because the lack of light is a real mood killer. The more we lock ourselves within 4 walls, the sadder we become. Spend more time outside — you’ll find a lot of fun stuff there and you’ll stay healthy. You can also buy a home lightbox to maintain the vitamin D level during dark winter months.
Since psoriasis is a malfunction of the immune system, vitamin D could shift the balance in a positive way. Exposure to ultraviolet-B rays can be an effective way to treat psoriasis, acne, and other skin problems. Keeping up with a healthy dose of vitamin D in your life would make a great difference for your skin health. You do not have to sunbathe to get enough vitamin D. However, you should be careful and try not to overexpose yourself to UV rays because there’s an increased risk of melanoma among psoriasis patients.
Muscle weakness, bone pain, and deformity could contribute to weight gain by making it difficult to be active and burn off calories. Also, vitamin D and hormone leptin work together to control body weight. Leptin, produced in fat cells, sends signals to the brain to let a person know they’re full. Vitamin D helps such signals get to the brain, and the deficiency of this vitamin might break the cycle. As a result, you don’t feel full and you overeat. You can get Vitamin D from sunlight exposure and by maintaining a healthy diet. Make sure it includes fish (swordfish, tuna, and salmon); egg yolks and fortified foods such as milk, whole grain bread, unflavored yogurt, orange juices, and probiotic granolas.
Recent studies have shown that cognitive dysfunction and dementia are now on the long list of conditions caused by the vitamin D deficiency. Since its receptors are widespread in the brain tissue, low levels of it can increase the risk of cognitive decline among the elderly. In 2015, there was a study including over 60,000 individuals and it helped determine that people living in northern latitudes have a significantly increased risk of developing dementia compared to those living in southern latitudes.
Warnings for treating vitamin D deficiency
There are three main sources of vitamin D: solar UVB exposure, a healthy diet, and supplements. However, there are certain things that you should bear in mind to stay healthy. The real danger of excessive exposure to the sun is skin cancer. Follow a complex sun protection plan: stay in the shade, apply water-resistant sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher, and wear protective clothing. If you choose supplements, remember that the dosage depends on your blood tests and a doctor’s prescriptions. Although a vitamin D level of 30 ng/ml is typically considered adequate, don’t risk your health and consult a specialist before taking any supplements. Excessive amounts of vitamin D can build up in the cells and lead to negative consequences.
Do you live in a city that doesn’t get much sun? How do you cope with the lack of sunny days? Share with us in the comments below!
Preview photo credit shutterstock, shutterstock