Need more vitamin D? Step outside!

8232Our growing concern for skin cancer has given sunshine a bad name. New research on the benefits of sunshine – and vitamin D in particular – indicates that it’s time to make friends with the sun, once again.

You may know that vitamin D is necessary for Calcium absorption, but according to Dr. Robert P. Heaney of Creighton University, in the absence of adequate vitamin D, none of our body systems work well.

So what’s the best way to get enough? Good old fashioned sunshine. Vitamin D produced by sun exposure lasts 2-3 times longer in your body than a supplement.

But too much sun is still bad, right? Yes. You never want to burn. Excessive sun exposure can lead to skin cancer and premature aging (i.e. wrinkles). But too little can contribute to a host of medical problems including diabetes, certain types of cancer (yes!), hypertension, asthma, arthritis, and on and on.

The key is getting sun exposure in the proper “doses.” Dr. Michael F. Holick of Boston University Medical Center says that, ideally, we should be getting 5-15 minutes of sunshine on our arms and legs during the peak of the day, 2-3 times per week, followed by good sun protection.

Want to learn more about the science of vitamin D and sunshine? Then browse all of the videos in this new series, Vitamin D for Public Health, presented by GrassrootsHealth and the UC San Diego School of Medicine. Notable researchers discuss conditions affected by vitamin D, ways to improve patient outcomes, how to solve the deficiency epidemic and much more.

Then step outside for your daily dose of sunshine!

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