Vitamin D is a steroid vitamin, made by your body when your skin is exposed to the sun. So it’s often referred to as the sun vitamin.
It’s most known for it’s role in calcium absorption and keeping our bones strong, but more recently research shows it’s also important for the immune system, for muscles, the heart and lungs, it has anti-cancer effects and is important for brain development and mood.
Vitamin D deficiency is a huge problem around the world. In New Zealand 48% of adults and 57% of children are deficient in vitamin D.
The most common symptoms of a vitamin D deficiency include a poor immune system, fatigue and tiredness, bone, muscle & back pain, hair loss, bone loss, poor wound healing and depression. Fatigue, anxiety and panic attacks can often be improved by having optimal vitamin D levels.
Vitamin D is necessary for creating serotonin and dopamine, two important neurotransmitters that help with feeling calm and happy. Depression and other mental health conditions can be caused by inflammation of the brain. Vitamin D helps dampen down the fire of inflammation to healthy levels. It also stimulates brain repair.
Aim to get 20 mins of sun exposure daily without sunscreen. Avoid getting burnt, but get just enough to slowly tan.
Encourage little ones to play outside whenever possible. For adults make an effort to work outside as much as possible, eat your lunch in the sun daily or play outside with your kids to soak up those healing rays.
Collecting enough vitamin D in summer to last all year is very important. Those with darker skins need more time in the sun than those with fairer skin.
Try to use sunscreen minimally. When using opt for natural sunscreens with a zinc base. Avoid chemical based sunscreens. Your local organic shop will have lots of options to choose from.
Being sensible in the sun is important but so is collecting plenty of vitamin D. Find a balance that works for your own family and get in the sun and surf this summer.