|Be Sun-Savvy With Vitamin D
As the days grow warmer, you may be planning trips to the beach, the local pool, or other summertime hot spots. Or maybe you’ll just be outdoors getting more exercise, doing yard work and enjoying the warm weather. Before you automatically slather on the SPF 50 sunscreen, consider the health benefits of moderate sun exposure. Without sunshine, our bodies fail to produce vitamin D, a critical element in maintaining a healthy immune system.
We have long known that vitamin D helps the body metabolize calcium to ensure bone health. But recent research uncovers this nutrient’s critical role in the immune system. One new study reveals that vitamin D is necessary for disease-fighting T cells to defend the body against viruses and other invading microorganisms (Nat Immunol 2010;11:344-9).
Don’t get us wrong: We are not talking about excessive sun exposure, which may lead to burning and cancer. However, a small dose of daily sunshine (about five to 30 minutes, depending on climate and individual characteristics) may actually be good for you.
After appropriate exposure, seek the shade or block further UV rays with clothing and a safe and natural sunscreen. Finally, if you have been avoiding sunlight, begin exposure gradually to minimize risk of damage. Dr. Barbara Smith
Monday Morning Health Tip – Be Sun Savvy With Vitamin D
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