Vitamin D and How It Works With Your Body

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Summer is in full swing. Here in Nebraska, we get a lot of hot, long days, and we’ll have more sunlight than darkness for the next several months. Heading to the pool, taking a vacation to the beach, and lounging in the backyard are common summer activities.


We all want to soak up that beautiful sunlight, and many people dream of getting that amazing tan. This all sounds great, but are you sure you’re getting enough sun? Or are you getting too much?


Many people don’t realize that sunlight is our main source of Vitamin D. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble essential vitamin that plays multiple roles in the body. In addition to maintaining bone health, Vitamin D can protect against heart disease, diabetes, and cancers of the breast, prostate, and colon.


Vitamin D is necessary for healthy immune function and may reduce inflammation, pain, depression, and sleep. Vitamin D also enhances absorption of other key nutrients such as calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphate, and zinc.


Getting between five to 30 minutes of sun exposure to your unprotected face, arms, legs, or back between the hours of 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. two to three times a week can significantly increase your Vitamin D levels. Those who have darker skin pigment, higher body fat, or are over 70 years old do not produce as much Vitamin D, and therefore have increased needs.


That said, there are instances where we may be out in the sun for too long without the proper sun protection. In most cases, this manifests as a sunburn. We have all gotten them and they are not too comfortable to deal with. When our skin is sunburned, it can range anywhere from a slight redness of the skin to extreme cases of dark redness that hurts to the touch.


In the latter case, skin cells sacrifice themselves to prevent damage to your DNA. If your DNA is damaged and its repair mechanisms are inhibited, skin cancer may occur.


Be careful when you are out in the sun for too long. A little bit of time everyday unprotected is fine, but if you are going to be out longer than 30 minutes you need to protect yourself with sunscreen, clothes, or hats. You can even simply go inside when you feel like you’ve had enough.


Going out and soaking up Vitamin D can help your body in many ways. Just make sure to be smart about it and plan ahead. You will save yourself a lot of pain in the end.


If you have any other questions about Vitamin D or other health and fitness questions, just give us a call or send us an email. We would be happy to help you!

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