Sunshine vitamin is commonly known as “sunshine vitamin,” comes from the sun, unlike most of the vitamin that comes from diet. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays many health roles in the body. The sunlight is responsible for converting the chemical on the skin into vitamin that can be used by the body. There are other sources of vitamin D, but the sun is the best source of this vitamin. There are some deficiencies linked to the lack of this vitamin, and therefore it is a vital vitamin for the functioning of body organs.
How to safely get Vitamin D from the sun
You can get vitamin D by exposing your skin to the sun around midday. Midday is the best time to get vitamin D because the sun is at its highest point, and therefore the ultra-violet rays are intense. The advantage of exposing your skin at midday is that body needs less time to acquire enough vitamin D. exposing your skin midday for about 15 minutes three times a week is healthy and helps to maintain the levels of Vitamin D in the body.
However, too much exposure to the skin in the direct ultraviolet rays may have negative effects on the skin.
Effect of excess exposure to the sunlight
Excess exposure of the skin to strong ultraviolet rays is likely to cause skin cancer. Generally, 10-15 minutes of direct exposure of skin to the sun are advised. Sunscreen and other skin protection measures are recommended for a longer period of exposure. Sunscreens help to reduce the effect caused by harmful ultraviolet rays.
Benefits of the sunshine vitamin
Vitamin D is one of the vital nutrients that are needed for one to have a healthy body. Some of the benefits associated with vitamin D include;
· Bones health
Vitamin D plays an important role in the absorption of calcium and phosphorus that are used to build strong bones. Vitamin D also helps in the regulation of calcium and the maintenance of phosphorus levels in the blood.
Lack or inadequate of the vitamin in the body may result in bone disorder. Therefore it is an important nutrient in the formation and development of strong bones.
Vitamin D is needed for the health of infants. Exposing infants to midday sunlight may help to make their bones more strong and healthy and therefore overcoming rickets disorder, which is caused as a result of vitamin D deficiency. Also, vitamin D from the sun plays a vital role in preventing high blood pressure that occurs in children as a result of vitamin D deficiency. In conclusion, sunshine vitamin is important for the health of infants.
· The benefit to pregnant women
Vitamin D is a vital nutrient for pregnant women. Vitamin D to a pregnant woman helps her to avoid risks that are associated with pregnancy, such as preeclampsia and giving birth preterm. Vitamin D can also help in fixing disorders that occur as a result of the shortage of vitamin D in the body of pregnant women. These disorders include; gestational diabetes and bacterial vaginosis.
Lastly, it helps to control the risk of food allergy in the child during the first one years of life.
· Other benefits associated with vitamin D include;
1. Supporting immune and brain system health.
2. Regulating insulin levels in the body.
3. Reducing the risk of flu.
4. Supporting cardiovascular health.
5. Improving the working of parathyroid glands.
Vitamin D deficiency
Vitamin D deficiency is a situation where it is inadequate vitamin D in the body. This deficiency may be brought about due to the following;
Use of skin protectors (sunscreens) – sunscreens controls the number of ultraviolet rays reaching the skin surface, and this alters with the creation of vitamin D in the body. This, therefore, results in minimal production of Vitamin D by the body.
Skin type- this is another factor that determines the amount of ultraviolet penetrating the body. Light skin is able to allow more UV rays as compared to dark skin. Therefore the darker the skin, the lower the ability to absorb the ultra-radiation, and this leads to the low amount of vitamin D produced by the skin.
Geographical factor- vitamin D levels in people’s bodies vary from one geographical location to another. This is because of the change of the intensity of ultraviolet rays from one region to another. People living in hot areas are expected to have a high level of vitamin D as compared to those living in cold places.
Symptoms associated with Vitamin D deficiency
Inadequate vitamin D in the body may be characterized by the following symptoms;
· Severe bone and back pain.
· Regular sickness.
· Hair loss
· Low mood and feeling stressed
· Low wounds healing
Disorders caused by prolonged vitamin D deficiency
If vitamin D deficiency continues for a long time may result in health complications. Some of the health complications caused by vitamin D deficiency are discussed below;
Osteomalacia is a disease that mainly affects adults and is mainly brought about by vitamin D deficiency in the body. This disorder alters the absorption of calcium in the body and also leads to a continuous loss of calcium from the bones. This condition makes adults have weak and soft bones. This disorder is characterized by weak and soft bones, bending of the backbone, weakening of body muscles, bone fragility that comes as a result of weak bones, and bowing of legs.
However, this condition can be alleviated by exposing your skin to sunlight so as to obtain vitamin D.
Rickets is a condition in infants and young children that is brought about by a deficiency of vitamin D in the body. This condition is characterized by soft, weak, and deformed long bones. Rickets may be caused by the lack of other nutrients in the body, but vitamin D deficiency remains the main cause among infants and children. Breastfeeding milk with a low level of Vitamin D may also lead to this condition.
However, if the condition is not serious, it can be alleviated by exposing the affected child to direct sunlight and giving them fortified milk.