This has been an unusual summer, or warm season for Wisconsin and the surrounding Midwest area. With few hot and sunny days, sun seekers have been especially disappointed, but summer’s lack of intense sun may be creating an issue for all of us.
We need the sun and the vitamins that the sun gives us—especially vitamin D. The sun’s rays absorbed through our skin create a healthy build-up of Vitamin D in our bodies. Without the sun, it is nearly impossible to get our required Vitamin D through just the foods we eat, and this can become a problem.
Our bodies must have Vitamin D to absorb calcium and promote healthy bone growth. Children with low levels may develop soft bones (a condition called rickets), and adults can develop fragile or misshapen bones (a condition called osteomalacia). Vitamin D deficiencies have also been linked to such diseases as breast, colon, and prostate cancer, as well as heart disease, depression, and unexplained weight gain.
Some suffering from a lack of Vitamin D may never experience any symptoms, while others may experience pain in the bones, weakness, and/or frequent infections. For some, these symptoms can become extreme and debilitating, but this can be avoided by maintaining a healthy level of Vitamin D.
Certain people are more at risk for the deficiency than others. This includes: people who spend a lot of time indoors, people who cover their skin with clothing or sunscreen, those with darker skin (which needs more direct sunlight in order to increase Vitamin D levels in the body), those in the northern part of the US or in Canada, older people with thinner skin, pregnant women, and people who are considerably overweight.
Summer is typically the time when our body replenishes itself of Vitamin D, and this helps us get through the long winters. Without the natural replenishing, it might be best to be proactive with our own health by taking a Vitamin D supplement. These can be found at the Outpost, Whole Foods, the Vitamin Shoppe, or a local health store near you.
We also encourage you to take full advantage of the bright and sunny days that come our way throughout the remainder of our summer. Hit the beach, the bike trails, or the parks. Enjoy the great outdoors. Soak up a little sun, because as we know, good health promotes a better quality of life.