Importance of Sunlight

Dr. ButchiKR Keerthimaan    19-12-2016 Consult

As the days grow shorter and the sun bows out gracefully to give way to fog, sleet, and endless overcast skies, you may find that more than your mood is affected. A lack of sunshine in the winter robs your body of vitamin D, leaving you feeling glum, irritated, achy, and prone to illness.

The Benefits of the Sunshine Vitamin

There may be a real reason why we seem to be hardwired to seek out sunny beaches and bask in UV rays whenever possible. Synthesized as a result of sun exposure, vitamin D helps the body regulate calcium and phosphorus, gives the immune system a boost, regulates blood sugar levels, staves off numerous illnesses, and fights depression.

Here are the top 5 ways in which the sun can improve your health:

  1. It cheers you up
    Sunshine boosts levels of serotonin- the body's natural happy hormone. That's why we tend to feel happier and more energetic when the sun shines. Regular sun can stave off moderate depression, particularly if combined with exercise, such as a walk in the park. It's also been shown that exercising outdoors creates more endorphins in the body than exercising indoors.
  2. Boosts fertility
    The sun reduces levels of the hormone melatonin which suppresses fertility, so it is more likely you'll conceive in summer. And sunlight not only makes you more fertile, it increases the length of your fertility
  3. Prevents diabetes
    Vitamin D may help to prevent the onset of diabetes. A deficiency in vitamin D is also thought to contribute to Type II diabetes
  4. Relieves aches and pains
    Being out in the sun helps to warm the body's muscles and eases stiffness, reducing the pain caused by inflammatory conditions such as arthritis.
  5. Reduces heart disease
    People are more likely to die of heart disease in winter than in summer, which is believed to be because of low levels of vitamin D. Cholesterol levels also rises in winter, because our vitamin D levels fall.

Why Sun Is So Important?

There are two main types of vitamin D. Vitamin D3 or cholecalciferol is made in the body as a response to sun exposure, while vitamin D2 or ergocalciferol is a synthetically added to supplements. Most experts agree that D3 is the more effective form of the vitamin, as it stays in the system for longer periods of time.
Although most of our vitamin D needs can be met through sun exposure, there are a few foods which also offer this important nutrient. Eggs, oily fish such as salmon or sardines, and fortified breakfast cereals can all get your closer to your recommended daily allowance.

Effects of Vitamin D Deficiency

The range of symptoms caused by vitamin D deficiency can range from mild to severe. Rickets is a painful childhood bone disease caused by this deficiency, leading to soft, bendable leg bones and a soft skull. Rickets is only one of the visible effects of a vitamin D deficiency, however. Because vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium and phosphorus more efficiently, in its absence it's possible to develop tooth decay, gum disease, bone pains, general fatigue and weakness, and Osteomalacia.