Sunny days can make us feel amazing. Studies have proven, time and again, that a little sunshine can have a serious positive impact on your mood and mental state. And the good news is the sun can also be your best source for vitamin D! But what you may not know is that if you’re using lots of sunscreen, you may actually be vitamin D deficient regardless of how much time you spend in the sun.
Applying sunscreen daily is highly recommended for preventing skin cancer, and it’s a great idea to protect your skin from damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays. But sunscreen can also block beneficial UV light that allows the skin to make vitamin D. So if you are being too careful in the sun, you may actually be causing more harm than good.
You’ve Heard of it, But What is it Really?
Vitamin D plays an important role in our body. It is a fat-soluble vitamin that our body needs for important processes such as the absorption of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphate and zinc – all nutrients your body needs to survive.
The sun is your body’s best and most efficient source of vitamin D. The body makes vitamin D from exposure to sunlight or UV light on exposed skin, but it can also obtain the vitamin from plants, supplements or foods fortified with the vitamin. If your body does not get enough vitamin D, you will develop a vitamin D deficiency.
Some people may be more susceptible to developing a vitamin D deficiency due to little sun exposure, diet and other factors. Sunscreen blocks UV light from being absorbed by your skin, which is why people can sometimes over-protect themselves from the sun. People who are obese, have dark skin and those who are older than 65 are also at higher risk. Symptoms may include tiredness, weakness, bone pain, general aches or even frequent infections. However, some people show no symptoms at all.
A long-term vitamin D deficiency can put you at risk for any number of dangerous and even deadly health problems including coronary artery disease, peripheral arterial disease, stroke and diabetes mellitus. A vitamin D deficiency can also cause your bones to become thin, brittle or misshapen over time. This is why it is important to know your vitamin D levels so you can take the steps to correct or prevent a vitamin D deficiency.
What Can You Do About It?
A vitamin D deficiency can be treated with increased sun exposure as well as vitamin D supplements. To reach your necessary vitamin D levels, try getting at least ten minutes of unprotected sun exposure every day — but make sure to apply the sunscreen after that!
If you suspect you may have a vitamin D deficiency, it’s important to get tested to find out for sure. Any Lab Test Now’s Vitamin D Test is a great place to start if you’d like to find out more about your vitamin D levels. By equipping yourself with the knowledge you need, you can begin taking the first steps towards better health.