The Sunshine Vitamin
Sometimes, even when our bodes make vitamin D it’s still not enough. Sunshine and vitamin D – how does it work? Whether sunlight hits our skin or not we should know these SIX FACTORS affecting our Vitamin D levels.
Latitude studies, Vitamin D Deficiency, the environment, your skin, your age and your weight.
Six Factors That Can Affect Your Vitamin D Level
A number of factors influence a person’s vitamin D levels. Here are six important ones.
- Where do you live? How far from the Equator do you live? That is the real question. The further from the equator the less vitamin D–producing UVB light reaches the earth’s surface during winter. Living in countries such as The UK, Russia and Sweden, Norway, the Nordic countries mean you are less likely to get enough vitamin D. If you live north of the line connecting San Francisco to Philadelphia and Athens to Beijing you too may not be getting enough either.
- Air Quality – What’s Yours Measuring Up To? Carbon particles in the air from the burning of fossil fuels, wood, and other materials scatter and absorb UVB rays, diminishing vitamin D production. In contrast, ozone absorbs UVB radiation, so pollution-caused holes in the ozone layer could end up enhancing levels. Air pollution is killing more people prematurely than obesity and alcohol combined – an estimated 29,000 every year, in the UK
- Do You Use Sunscreen? Sunscreen prevents sunburn by blocking UVB light. Theoretically, that means sunscreen use lowers vitamin D levels. But as a practical matter, very few people put on enough sunscreen to block all UVB light. Or they use sunscreen irregularly, so sunscreen’s effects on vitamin D might not be that important. An Australian study that’s often cited showed no difference in vitamin D between adults randomly assigned to use sunscreen one summer and those assigned a placebo cream.
- What Is Your Skin colour? Melanin is the substance in skin that makes it dark. It “competes” for UVB with the substance in the skin that kick-starts the body’s vitamin D production. As a result, dark-skinned people tend to require more UVB exposure than light-skinned people. This means to generate the same amount of vitamin D, you need more sunshine.
- What is your weight? Calculate your BMI here. What is your percentage body fat? Body fat mops up vitamin D. Studies have shown that being obese is correlated with low vitamin D levels. Being overweight may affect the bioavailability of vitamin D.
- Age. Compared with younger people, older people have lower levels of the substance in the skin that UVB light converts into the vitamin D precursor. Experimental evidence that older people are less efficient vitamin D producers than younger people.
Vitamin D Deficiency Is Linked To The Following Diseases
IBD or IBS
Kidney Disease – Fanconi syndrome,
Osteomalacia causing back pain
Rickets in Children
Cognition HBP Mood Disorders