Vitamin D: A Dose of Sunshine
With a host of sunscreens loud with an entire range of SPFs available in the market today, we ask ourselves, have we gone so far as depriving ourselves with the good dose of sunshine?
According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vitamin D deficiency is now recognized as a pandemic.
Current clinical studies support the critical role of Vitamin D with the prevention of dental caries or tooth decay. Vitamin D plays a crucial role in keeping our teeth and bones healthy and in regulating cell growth.
Without Vitamin D, the body can only absorb up to 15% of calcium from the food that we eat and for normal body reserves, 30 to 40% of absorption is necessary.
Vitamin D deficiency causes rickets in children and osteomalacia in adults. It increases the risk of osteoporosis (thin bone disease) that leads to fractures and spinal deformities. It has also been associated with heightened risk of common cancers, hypertension, autoimmune diseases and infectious diseases.
The traditional way of exposing your skin to sunshine is still the easiest way to get Vitamin D. The US Institute of Medicine maintains that the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for Vitamin D is 600IU for people 1-70 years of age and 800IU for those 71 years and above. That’s about 5 ounces of salmon, or nearly 2 ounces can of tuna!
While our bodies need moderate amount of sunshine to power up with Vitamin D, excessive exposure to UV rays is also harmful to our health. To protect us from harmful UV radiation, the World Health Organization recommends limiting time under the midday sun, wearing protective clothing, applying sunscreens with SPF 30+ and avoiding the use of sunbeds for those above 35 years of age.
Different institutions propose a different RDA for Vitamin D. Be sure to consult your doctor before taking any over-the-counter supplements and medications.