Obesity and autoimmune diseases are on the rise. Interestingly, many studies link Vitamin-D deficiency to these diseases as well as to cancer and heart disease.
Vitamin D is the only vitamin that we can create in the body. Although you can ingest Vitamin D via certain fish (salmon, herring, cod liver oil, mackerel), as well as foods that have been fortified with it, our bodies convert the light rays of the sun into Vitamin D using the skin, liver and kidneys.
Interestingly more and more people, even healthy people, are becoming Vitamin D deficient. This is most likely due to decreased sunlight exposure because many people don’t spend enough time outdoors.
Low vitamin D levels are linked to:
- autoimmune disease
- inflammatory diseases
- cardiovascular disease
- impaired function of immune cells
A great way to be sure your body gets the Vitamin D it needs for health and vitality is to:
- Spend a half hour in direct sunlight each day.
- Be sure a good amount of skin is exposed, even if it is just the arms.
- Be sure NOT to wear sunblock over the area you are exposing, because this blocks the UV rays that begin the process of Vitamin D production.
If you are going to be in the sun for an excessive period of time, such as a day at the beach, an extra long bike ride, or a hike midday when the sun is the strongest, then wear sunblock. Especially on the sensitive areas, such as the face, to prevent sunburn.
Otherwise, soak up the sun whenever you can because I’m sure most of you barely see the light of day especially during the winter months. The remedy for Vitamin D deficiency is simple and resides in nature.
Pereira-Santos M1, Costa PR, Assis AM, Santos CA, Santos DB. Obesity and vitamin D deficiency: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Obes Rev. 2015 Feb 17. doi: 10.1111/obr.12239.
Skaaby T, Husemoen LL, Thuesen BH, Linneberg A. Prospective population-based study of the association between vitamin D status and incidence of autoimmune disease. Endocrine. 2015 Feb 11.
Ritterhouse LL1, Lu R1, Shah HB2, Robertson JM2, Fife DA2, Maecker HT3, Du H3, Fathman CG3, Chakravarty EF2, Scofield RH2, Kamen DL4, Guthridge JM2, James JA1. Vitamin d deficiency in a multiethnic healthy control cohort and altered immune response in vitamin D deficient European-American healthy controls. PLoS One. 2014 Apr 11;9(4):e94500. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0094500.