The “Sunshine Vitamin”

Feelings of happiness are not the only things your body produces when sunshine hits your face on a bright summer day. Vitamin D, sometimes called the “sunshine vitamin”, is produced in your skin in response to sunlight, and is a fat-soluble vitamin in a family of compounds that includes vitamins D1, D2, and D3.

Vitamin D has a host of important functions for your body but the most vital ones are the facilitation of your immune system functions and the effective absorption of phosphorus and calcium. A lack of vitamin D may possibly put you at risk of developing bone abnormalities like osteoporosis, or more commonly known as fragile bones.

According to a 2008 findings published in Circulation, an appropriate amount of vitamin D in your body goes a long way in decreasing the chances of developing heart diseases. This “sunshine vitamin” also helps reduce the likelihood of developing the flu, based on 2010 research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

So how do you get this important vitamin? It’s simple. Ten minutes a day of mid-day sun exposure is sufficient if you’re fair-skinned but if your skin is tanner, bask in the sun’s rays a little longer to get a good amount of vitamin D. Apart from spending time in the sun, you can also get a good dose of vitamin D through particular foods, such as tuna, salmon, and mackerel. Most breakfast cereals, soy beverages, orange juice, and yogurt also have healthy amounts of Vitamin D. Check the nutrition fact panel on the food label to know exactly how much.

While the amount of vitamin D someone needs might vary across demographic factors like age groups, the importance of it is not in question. Book an appointment with your doctor for guidance and advice on how to make sure you get the right amount to keep healthy and be able to continue enjoying the sun beating down your face.