Sunshine Vitamin and the Vitality of Sun-Exposure
Shun the sun; pay the price!
Worried about tan and pigmentation; worried about highest marks in the class, lack of outdoor games and influenced by tech toys… are the reasons enough to stay away from sun light. Outdoor games are almost at the verge of getting extinct and indoor games like – video games, computers, laptops, iPads, mobile phones, etc are all part of our lifestyles. We can hardly see kids playing in parks and grounds. There are high-rise apartments and condos with little playing areas.
Adults and kids are all busy with their routine and little does anybody worry about the importance of sun exposure. Working parents have little time to get their children out in sun and the children are always either busy with school, studies or hobby classes. In such situation it only becomes next to impossible to get good sun exposure. The result is inadequate sun exposure and thus irregular synthesis of Vitamin D.
Why is sun exposure so important to growing children?
It’s important in more ways than we think. The main reason being – Synthesis of Vitamin D.
Vitamin D is a group of fat-soluble secosteroids which in humans, is synthesised from cholesterol when the skin gets exposed to sun light. Hence Vitamin D is also called as “Sunshine Vitamin”.
Sunlight is the best natural source of vitamin D. Unlike dietary or supplementary vitamin D, when it is synthesised naturally, only the required amount of Vitamin D is utilized, and de-metabolizes any extra. Excess dosage when artificially given, it might over process calcium which is not good either. Thus, natural sunshine is a good source as well as safe for the right amount of Vitamin D.
Among the five forms of Vitamin D, Vitamin D1, D2, D3, D4, D5 the two forms that are important humans the most are vitamins D2 (ergocalciferol) and D3 (cholecalciferol). These can be naturally synthesised by our body when the skin is exposed to sun shine.
The vitality of Vitamin D for proper growth and functioning of human body:
- Healthy bones are the gift of regular calcium supply and Vitamin D helps in the absorption of calcium.
- Vitamin D facilitates and helps in metabolise phosphorus.
- It regulates human immune system. Vitamin D plays a huge role in boosting the immune system. It is one of the best ways to prevent colds, flu, or any chronic disease.
- Vitamin D may assist in good brain functioning in the later years of life; here is the source which shows the evidence.
- It is found that good Vitamin D levels in the body along with low-calorie diet can lead to weight loss success.
- Helps reduce the risk of rheumatoid arthritis in women.
- Adequate levels of vitamin D during the growing years may reduce the risk of type 1 diabetes in the later years according to researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH).
The effects of Vitamin D deficiency
The major problem caused by the deficiency of Vitamin D is Rickets (Osteomalacia in adults) in kids and it is commonly seen due to Vitamin D deficiency. Skeletal deformity, brittle bones and weakness in muscular system are some of the effects in this disease.
Sources of Vitamin D
There is no better source than sun for Vitamin D which can be synthesised naturally by exposing skin to sun. The other dietary sources include cod liver oil, butter, cheese, fish, Vitamin fortified cereals, milk and dairy products. You can also find traces of Vitamin D in some fruits and vegetables (but very minimal).
So, sunshine is important and one of the vital sources for human body next to dietary nutrients. Modern lifestyle and living conditions have all taken off the importance of working under sun and playing outdoor games in day light. Skin cancer may be a threat to human race when exposed to harsh sunlight for longer period of time on daily bases but just 15-30 minutes of exposure early in the morning before 10:00 a.m. or in the evening after 4:00 p.m. could do wonders for the body especially our growing kids.
Medha, queen of queensquill.com is a freelance writer, a full time blogger, earns on internet working from home, lives for the love of writing and breathes for the soul of her life, her son. Say Hi to this tweety Mama among many tweeple @QueensQuill who has now started catching the pace of social media.