For over two decades, we have been warned about the ‘dangers of sun exposure.’ Yet, while a sunburn can indeed have negative health effects, the truth is that the sun is our best source for vitamin D – particularly vitamin D3. Unfortunately, sunscreen products – as low as SPF 15 – actually block the production of crucial vitamin D3 by 99 percent or more.
A recent clinical study by the American Osteopathic Association has found that up to 1 billion people in the world have insufficient vitamin D levels. Researchers speculate that it is due to a lack of sun exposure – which is the body’s main source of vitamin D. With such widespread campaigning to encourage people to wear sunscreen every time they leave their home, we are not receiving the healthy, nourishing rays that are crucial to immune system health and other bodily processes.
Sunscreen and ‘modern’ living conditions to blame for insufficient sun exposure
The recent clinical review was published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association. It determined that 95 percent of African Americans also suffer from a vitamin D deficiency. While there can be variations due to skin pigmentation, not receiving enough sunlight can affect all races.
In addition to wearing sunscreen, people are also just generally not spending as much time outdoors as they once did. Both young people and adults are more often staying indoors to watch TV, use their computers and other devices, or play video games instead of going outside.
Vitamin D3 supplementation can help prevent infection, MS, Alzheimer’s disease and cancer
Vitamin D receptors are found on nearly every cell of the body. Vitamin D is actually considered a hormone that’s triggered into production when the skin is exposed to sunlight. It plays a major role in numerous bodily functions including cell growth, reducing inflammation, neuromuscular functioning and immune system functioning.
A deficit of vitamin D is exacerbated by chronic diseases such as, type 2 diabetes. It is also fueled by conditions that inhibit vitamin D absorption such as kidney disease, celiac disease and Crohn’s disease. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked with autoimmune disorders, infection, multiple sclerosis, cardiometabolic disease, respiratory disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
Sun exposure and vitamin D supplementation crucial to achieve ideal blood levels
As you may know, the symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include bone fractures and muscle weakness. The best way to verify vitamin D levels is with a blood test. Vitamin D levels below 30 ng/ml is considered an insufficiency, and a deficiency refers to less than 20ng/ml, according to the Endocrine Society.