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Sun Your Way to Vitamin D Health This Summer

By Chris Brown

With the recent summer heat waves rocking the country, many have been tempted to remain in their air-conditioned houses for days on end. However, one may be missing out on one of nature's free, but valuable, vitamins by not indulging in the summer sun. Vitamin D is crucial for a functioning, healthy body and comes directly from sunlight. Unfortunately, many deal with the health consequences of low Vitamin D, but anyone can refill their levels today by simply giving themselves sun time.

Why Is Vitamin D Important and How Does It Come From the Sun?

Contrary to its name, Vitamin D isn't actually a vitamin at all. It is a hormone produced by the body in response to sunlight. Specifically, ultraviolet B (UVB) rays interact with cholesterol in the skin and produce Vitamin D synthesis. Because we evolved as daytime creatures, Vitamin D is incredibly vital for body functionality. Vitamin D most importantly helps with calcium and phosphate absorption and regulation. This means that low Vitamin D levels cause problems with bone, teeth, and muscle strength. Additionally, Vitamin D plays a crucial role in mood regulation, so make sure to spend a few extra minutes in the sun if you're feeling down.

How Much Sunlight Does the Average Person Actually Need

The standard amount of sunlight required for maintaining healthy levels of Vitamin D is at least 10-30 minutes of midday sun multiple times per week.

Tips for Maximizing Your Sun Vitamin D Exposure

A range of factors influence how much Vitamin D someone generates from sunlight. Factors such as skin tone (lighter skin produces more Vitamin D) and distance from the equator will influence the vitamin intake from a single sun session. You can increase your Vitamin D production with the following:

  • Go out in the sun in the middle of the day - Not only is the sun at its highest point at midday, it also exposes the most UVB rays. However, the midday sun is the most dangerous, so don't overdo it.
  • Expose more skin - Like a solar panel, the more skin area hits the sun, the more Vitamin D production occurs.
  • Wearing sunscreen may require longer sun time - While sunscreen is important for avoiding sunburns and skin cancer, the standard SPF 30 prevents 90-98 percent of Vitamin D production from sunlight. This just means that you'll need to spend a little longer in the sun to fill up your Vitamin D tanks.

Taking time daily to safely expose yourself to the sun is an excellent way to improve your life and health. Double up on the self-improvement by walking outside to your neighborhood chiropractor, The Joint Chiropractic. They offer walk-in sessions for affordable prices so you can stop by on your next trip out in the sun.

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Winter Garden, Fla.

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