Posted on August 19, 2023 in 2023 September, Lifestyle and Wellness

The Sunshine Vitamin

What vitamin does the human body produce when it is exposed to the sun? Vitamin D! This vitamin is anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, supporting overall health, muscle function, and brain cell activity. It is essential for maintaining bone strength from head to toe.

The amount of vitamin D your skin makes depends on many factors, including the time of day, season, latitude, and your skin pigmentation. Studies have shown that individuals with darker skin pigmentation require longer or more intense ultraviolet radiation exposure to synthesize sufficient levels of vitamin D. If you have darker skin, you tend to make less vitamin D in the sun than people with lighter skin.

Depending on where you live and your lifestyle, vitamin D production might decrease or be completely absent during the winter months. Sunscreen, while important for skin cancer prevention, can also decrease vitamin D production. If your doctor suspects you’re not getting enough vitamin D, a simple blood test can check the levels of this vitamin in your blood. Chronic deficiencies may cause hypocalcemia, a calcium deficiency disease, and hyperparathyroidism, which can produce the following symptoms:

  • Bone fragility, especially in older adults
  • Osteoporosis
  • Bone pain
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle twitching or pain
  • And more

Many older adults don’t get regular exposure to sunlight and have trouble absorbing vitamin D. To boost your levels, you could take a multivitamin with vitamin D and eat foods high in vitamin D, such as egg yolks, cheese, mushrooms, fortified milk and cereals, and more.