Health And Wellbeing: Exposure to Sunlight ( Vitamin D)
by Khalid Rizvi
As we know, the sun is very important for our planet earth which provides energy to the ecosystem. The sun’s UV rays help the human body make nutrients that are important for bones, blood cells, and the immune system. Bright sunlight helps boost the production of serotonin. It also improves the release of melatonin, which helps one get a better night’s sleep.
Vitamin D is naturally produced by the skin out of cholesterol when exposed to ultraviolet B radiation of sunlight. It is also known as a hormone that regulates gene expression in hundreds of genes. Therefore, controls physical mechanisms throughout the body.
Just a few years ago, it was a misconception that Vitamin D is the “ bone Vitamin” but due to the hard work of many scientists, especially Michael Holicks, it was discovered that every tissue and cell type in the body has receptors for vitamin D.
It is unfortunate that deficiency of vitamin D is an epidemic globally and a major factor in the pathology of many diseases such as at least 17 varieties of cancer, as well as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, hypertension, autoimmune diseases, depression, chronic pain, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, muscle weakness and more. It is recently known that cold and flu are caused due to deficiency of Vitamin D during winter.
In order to maintain an adequate level of Vitamin D, it can be achieved through diet, the sun, or supplements.
Therefore, Vitamin D “sufficient” have blood levels of at least 30 ng/ml however optimum vitamin D is achieved at a minimum of 50 ng/ml and toxic if level greater than 70 ng/ml.
- Fish ( Salmon/Tuna)
- Fortified milk
- Beef liver
- Cod liver oil.
Supplements: Take 800-1000 units of vitamin D per day in winter and 2000 units per day for over 50 years of age.
35ng/ml is normal whereas levels greater than 70ng/ml are Toxic.
This article will be a part of a weekly series on health and wellbeing. This is the fifth of eight.
Khalid Javed Rizvi, a certified nutritionist and also served nine years as a General Manager of Health & Safety in a multinational firm.