Many things are good for us, but as most of us know too much of a good thing can be bad for us. Likewise, while too much of the sun's rays can be harmful to your skin, the right amount can also be good for our health. This feature from the Oasis Beauty Sun® Health Book explores some of these benefits.
Sunlight, skin and Vitamin D
Our main source of Vitamin D is sunlight which is also known as 'the sunshine vitamin'. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that is only naturally present in a small number of foods, the most well known of which are cheese, eggs, tuna, milk and salmon.
Our bodies make Vitamin D when the ultraviolet rays from sunlight strike the skin and trigger Vitamin D synthesis. This Vitamin D then goes through two changes in the body to become activated.
Sunlight, Vitamin D and bone health
Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption in the gut and maintains adequate levels of calcium and phosphate in the blood to support bone health.
Without enough Vitamin D, bones can become thin, brittle, or misshapen. Vitamin D prevents rickets in children and softening of bones in adults. Together with calcium, Vitamin D also helps protect older adults from osteoporosis.
Sunlight, Vitamin D and a strong immune system
Vitamin D supports and strengthens the immune system, fights infection and reduces inflammation1. It has a potentially positive impact on resistance to chronic diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases. It has been shown that sunlight can prevent the development and progression of atherosclerosis (clogged and blocked arteries) and Vitamin D reduces inflammation in the arteries2.
Although there is no conclusive evidence at this stage, there is a growing body of research that suggests that Vitamin D might play some role in the prevention and treatment of type 1 and type 2 diabetes, hypertension, glucose intolerance and multiple sclerosis. A wintertime deficiency of Vitamin D, which can be aggravated by a lack of sunlight, has also been implicated in the seasonal increase in colds and flu. Previous small studies have suggested an association between low blood levels of Vitamin D and a higher risk of respiratory infections.
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1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3166406/ 2. http://europepmc.org/abstract/med/20196468