The sun has always been equal parts villain and hero.
The bad: We all know that the sun can burn us if we’re slapdash with the SPF. And we know that long-term damage caused by UVA rays has been linked to cancer.
The good:We probably also know that we need some sunshine to synthesise Vitamin D in our bodies, particularly since very few of us can get enough Vitamin D from our diet alone. Just 15 minutes a day (although preferably not during the 11-3pm window in very hot sun) on bare skin should give us the Vitamin D we need. The most commonly understood benefit is the link between Vitamin D and the absorption and metabolism of calcium; which is important for many things, most notably the maintenance of healthy bones.
The new…: But I’ve recently been finding out quite a bit more about Vitamin D via the Anatomy & Physiology modules of my aromatherapy course and also my own reading. Did you know that Vitamin D deficiencies may be at least part of the reason for the influx of cold and flu bugs in the autumn and early winter months? The link between Vitamin D and immune function is being written about more and more. The suggestion is that Vitamin D triggers the T cells that fight infection within the body and there’s a really interesting article on just that here.
But it doesn’t stop there. There’s research to suggest that it can reduce the risk of multiple sclerosis, that it can protect brain function in later life, that it can reduce the severity of ashtma attacks and even that it can help maintain a healthy body weight. Have a look at this page on Medical News Today (scroll down to the section ‘What do we need Vitamin D for’ to see links to the medical studies).
So get your bit of sun when it comes this summer. Don’t go crazy, but don’t miss out.
And come back for part 2 where I’ll look at some good Vitamin D supplements a bit later in the year.
Photos © Natural Beauty Cabinet.