Keep the Fun in the Sun

Image Source: Vitamin D3 IBSA

Spending time outdoors is regarded as an indisputable measure of first-world human wellness, especially when it comes to offsetting the effects of a largely indoor and sedentary lifestyle. While societal pressure leads many to pull on their newly bought running shoes and butt-lifting activewear to get outdoor exercise, there is a widely deficient nutrient that isn’t being considered. One that is naturally obtained is through sunlight exposure, or Ultraviolet radiation (UVA/B).

A protein in the skin makes vitamin D^3 for the body when it’s exposed to the UVB rays. This “sunshine vitamin” has been credited for maintaining bone health, and its great impact on the immune system. There have been fewer incidences of certain cancers, type 1 diabetes, hormone disorders, and heart disease that have shown a correlation in subjects with balanced vitamin D numbers. In other finds, The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health reports of lower vitamin D levels generally having negative psychological effects on mood. Patients with clinical depression or anxiety (or both), have also had their conditions influenced by the vitamin levels of the sunshine vitamin. The widely prevalent but not widely realized disorder, Seasonal Affective Disorder, is another direct effect of the darker and colder months, especially in countries and cities that are farther away from the equator. Other studies also hint that balanced vitamin D and mental healthfulness are correlative. 

However, going without sunscreen to soak up as much UVB, can also be counterproductive. There should always be extra discretion with UVA/B radiation and sun exposure. Dermatologists and scientists reason that UV radiation is a carcinogen because it has been shown to contribute to eye and skin cancers, along with other diseases of these organs. How do we benefit from the essential nutrient Vitamin D without blindly endangering our bodies to enjoy the outdoors? The Skin Cancer Foundation says “an SPF 15 sunscreen filters out 93 percent of UVB rays, SPF 30 keeps out 97 percent, and SPF 50 filters out 98 percent…” It is found that good use of sunscreen is great in protection and it doesn’t completely shut out having balanced vitamin D levels. You can still receive small amounts of UV through sunscreen. 

Another way to obtain healthy levels of the nutrient is through oral supplementation and diet. Fatty fish like salmon, tuna, and some other underwater inhabitants like shrimp pass the vitamin when consumed. Dairy and eggs are also known sources, but if these aren’t friendly to your diet, nut milk and some orange juice brands are also enriched with this nutrient. With an uptick in recognition of the vitamin D lacking in modern and northern populations, there are many resources set in place to obtain it. Moderating more than abstaining may help balance your relationship with the outdoors. It doesn’t have to be as conflicting as it seems if you continue to learn healthy practices that are monitored under a physician, it can only omit many issues and oppose diseases of the body.