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EVER won­dered why peo­ple seem more re­laxed and hap­pier when they are out­side in the sun? The an­swer may well be that they are be­ing su­per­charged with vi­ta­min D sourced from our clos­est yel­low star – the sun!

You may well know that vi­ta­min D is linked to strong bones and teeth. Re­search shows vi­ta­min D de­fi­ciency also plays a role in some cases of depression, chronic fa­tigue and an in­creased ten­dency to in­fec­tions.

So if you work in­doors and spend lit­tle time in the sun­light, you should get your vi­ta­min D lev­els checked if you are feel­ing a bit glum. You might need the warm sun­shine vi­ta­min to brighten up your days.

A very unique qual­ity of ex­pos­ing your skin to sun­light is that it ac­ti­vates a “start­ing ma­te­rial” to be con­verted into what is com­monly re­ferred to as vi­ta­min D.

In the top layer of your skin, you have a sub­stance called 7-de­hy­dro­c­holes­terol. Sun­light stim­u­lates the pro­duc­tion of vi­ta­min D3 from that sub­stance. Vi­ta­min D3 is then taken to the liver and kid­neys to be­come the most ef­fec­tive form of vi­ta­min D.

A vi­ta­min is de­fined when your body can­not pro­duce it but needs sup­plies from di­etary sources. It can be ar­gued that vi­ta­min D is not a true vi­ta­min at all, but per­haps more of a hor­mone!

Yes, some of the foods you may eat do con­tain vi­ta­min D! Th­ese in­clude fish, but­ter, milk (es­pe­cially full cream); as well as for­ti­fied mar­garine, break­fast ce­re­als and meal re­place­ment shakes. Vi­ta­min D is fat-sol­u­ble – so if you take a vi­ta­min D sup­ple­ment, do try eat­ing healthy food with a lit­tle bit of fat such as fish, avo­cado pear and nuts at the same time. A re­ally free and easy way to ob­tain your vi­ta­min D is from sun­light.

How­ever, don’t go over­board as ex­cess sun ex­po­sure can da­m­age your skin and cause cancer. Ex­po­sure to the sun early in the morn­ing or late af­ter­noon is the safest, try some gar­den­ing or go for a walk dur­ing those times! –

● The health col­umn will be pub­lished in the fi­nal edi­tion of ev­ery month.

Pic­ture: PIX­ABAY

FUN IN THE SUN: Early morn­ing and late af­ter­noon are the safest times to ob­tain vi­ta­min D from ex­po­sure to the sun

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