Soak up the sun

Soak up the sun


Vitamin D commonly known as “sunshine vitamin” is a vitamin one can get from food or exposure in sun. Exposure in sun (ultraviolet rays) stimulates melanin present in skin to produce vitamin D in the body. Vitamin D serves several important functions such as absorption of calcium in the body and thus helps in maintaining normal calcium and phosphate levels. This is important to keep the bone strong and healthy.

The deficiency of vitamin D not only effects bone and its health but also it is a major risk factor for heart attack, congestive heart failure, peripheral artery disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes and some forms of cancer. Vitamin D found naturally in only a few foods such as fish-liver oils, fatty fishes, mushrooms, egg yolks, soy milk, cereals, orange juice, cheese and liver.

Vitamin D is essential for good bone health, and it may help with muscle strength and protecting against cancer and type-2 diabetes. Extensive research confirms that there is a link between vitamin D and high blood pressure. People who have higher vitamin D intake tend to have lower blood pressure. Sometimes, our body produces too many cells in the muscle that lines our blood vessels. A build-up of these cells can lead to plaque, which makes it harder for blood to travel throughout your body.

Scientists have found vitamin D receptors on these cells, and vitamin D can bind to these receptors. This may help to reduce the risk of cells building up in your blood vessels. Few medical researches confirmed other theory on link between vitamin D and high blood pressure in which they say vitamin D may help in reducing the activity of the system that controls your blood pressure called the renin-angiotensin system. When this system is overactive, blood pressure can rise. Ullah, M. et al in International Journal of Endocrinology confirmed that people with higher levels of vitamin D had lower blood pressures and a lower risk of developing hypertension. Kunutsor, S. K. et al in European Journal of Epidemiology (2013) revealed that 10 mg/ml increases in someone’s vitamin D levels reduces 12% risk of developing hypertension and further also confirmed that highest vitamin D levels had a 30% lower risk of developing hypertension compared to the people with the lowest levels.

An association of obesity with low serum vitamin D levels has been reported in International Journal of Endocrinology. Physical inactivity including decreased outdoor activities may lead to diminished exposure to ultraviolet light. This may partly account for the lower level of serum vitamin D in overweight and obese participants, who are more likely to be sedentary in their lifestyle. There are some observational and case-control studies suggesting that lower levels of vitamin D is associated with decreased insulin secretion. Vitamin D supplementation reduces the concentrations of free fatty acids in diabetics, thereby improving insulin sensitivity. Looking at various benefits of vitamin D in lifestyles disorder daily exposure to sunlight will boost vitamin level naturally. Most people can make enough vitamin D from being out in the sun daily for short periods with their forearms, hands or lower legs uncovered and without sunscreen. So soak up in SUN!

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