Sunlight and Vitamin D

It is enough to say the word “osteoporosis” to bring to mind brittle bones, compression fractures of the back, permanent back pain, fractures of the femoral neck, disability, death and other horrors. Millions of people around the world suffer from bone fractures caused by osteoporosis. Are only women losing bone mass? No. Men who have reached the age of 55-60 lose approximately 1% of bone mass per year. What causes bone loss? We generally attribute insufficient amounts of dietary calcium, excessive intake of protein and salt, which causes calcium loss and leads to hormonal changes, and lack or lack of exercise (including weight bearing), to be the cause. However, do not underestimate the cause of a lack of vitamin D in the body. This vitamin is extremely important because it allows the body to absorb calcium and promote bone health.

What are the symptoms of vitamin D deficiency? In fact, there are no obvious symptoms, except that the body’s absorption of calcium is limited. In order to maintain sufficient levels of calcium in the blood, the bones have to give up the calcium they contain. As a result, vitamin D deficiency accelerates the process of bone loss and increases the risk of bone fracture – even in youth. What are the sources of this vitamin other than fish oil? There are a huge number of foods that are fortified with vitamin D2 (aka ergocalciferol), including milk (but not cheese and yogurt), margarine, soy and rice products, and instant cereals. Some puddings and desserts contain vitamin D-fortified milk. However, a serving of these foods provides 1-3 micrograms of this vitamin, while the daily value is 5-10 micrograms. Regular exposure to sunlight, in addition to helping to cope with depression, improves bone density. This is explained by the fact that vitamin D is formed due to exposure to sunlight on the skin. The question arises: how much light does the body need for adequate synthesis of vitamin D? 

There is no single answer. It all depends on the time of year and day, place of residence, health and age, on the intensity of skin pigmentation. It is known that sunlight is most intense from eight in the morning until five in the evening. Some people try to protect themselves from the sun with sunscreens that block the ultraviolet B spectrum associated with the formation of vitamin D. A sunscreen with sunscreen 8 prevents 95% of the production of this vitamin. As for the sun filter 30, it provides 100% blockade. Living creatures living in northern latitudes are unable to produce vitamin D for most of the year due to the low angle of the sun in winter, so their vitamin D levels tend to decrease. Older people are at risk of not getting enough of this vitamin because they do not go outdoors for fear of skin cancer and wrinkles. Short walks will benefit them, increase muscle tone, maintain bone strength and provide the body with vitamin D. Exposing your hands and face to sunlight for 10-15 minutes every day is enough for the process of vitamin D synthesis to occur. In addition to the fact that this vitamin increases bone density, it prevents the growth of malignant cells, in particular, protects against the development of breast cancer. Is it possible to have too much vitamin D in the body? Alas. Too much vitamin D is toxic. In fact, it is the most toxic of all vitamins. Its excess causes petrification of the kidneys and soft tissues, it can cause kidney failure. Excessive amounts of vitamin D have been linked to increased calcium levels in the blood, which can lead to fatigue and mental sluggishness. Thus, with the onset of the first warm days of spring (or summer, depending on the region), we should not rush to the beach in search of a tan. Doctors warn us – if we want to avoid freckles, age spots, rough skin, wrinkles, then we should not be zealous with sunbathing. However, a moderate amount of sunlight will provide us with the necessary vitamin D.

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