Once the long winter months gradually give way to more sunny days, it’s normal to start worrying about getting healthy doses of sunlight. Even though many of us are aware of the dangers of sunlight exposure, it’s still essential to have some of its rays do wonders on the skin. This fact alone puts many in a dilemma.
Is it worth it to roll up those sleeves and bask in the sun when those same rays that give vitamin D can also cause major damage to the eyes and skin? Or are there safer ways to limit sun exposure and still get the daily dose of this sunshine vitamin? Find out below.
What is vitamin D?
Vitamin D, popularly known as the sunshine vitamin, is an essential nutrient the body produces. It is not produced by the sun as many may think. However, the sun triggers the healthy production of vitamin D when exposed to the skin.
What are the benefits of vitamin D?
When vitamin D is released into the body, it helps to regulate the amount of calcium the body produces. These nutrients help to keep the bones, muscles and teeth strong and healthy.
It has also been linked to the function of the immune system (EFSA, 2010).
Sources of vitamin D
The main source of vitamin D is sunlight. It’s the most natural way to get this nutrient absorbed by the skin. However, for people who live in colder climates and those who spend most of their days inside, getting the nutrient from this source may not be realistic. So, if you don’t always have time to sun-tan every now and then, can you totally depend on a vitamin D-rich diet?
Yes and no
Some people get enough vitamin D from meals and fortified foodstuffs such as dairy milk, almond milk, cereal, or red meat, salmon, sardines, mackerel, liver and egg yolks. However, food sources are not always sufficient – that’s why people look to take vitamin D tablets, capsules and liquid supplements.
UVB rays passing through windows
Most glass windows block the entrance of UVB rays, which means that the skin will not benefit from those rays that influence vitamin D production. However, ordinary glass does not filter out UVA rays. UVB has a shorter wavelength compared to UVA (which is more dangerous). This fact simply proves that while many may still suffer from sun damage because of these UVA rays.