Sunlight is vital for plants, animals, and people, and missing it can lead to serious health problems. The human skin can make Vitamin D in large amounts if it is exposed to the sun. This vitamin regulates the circadian rhythm, helping you sleep better, and it even helps people get rid of sleep apnea.
The importance of vitamin D is so high that a team of Swedish researchers warned that avoiding sun exposure represents a risk factor for death that could be compared to smoking.
Sun Exposure Increases Nitric Oxide Production
When sunlight touches your skin, Nitric Oxide is released into the bloodstream. This chemical compound lowers blood pressure and protects your cardiovascular system, reducing the risk of stroke and heart attacks.
Vitamin D Improves Body Composition
Vitamin D also contributes to your cognitive function, bone health, healthy pregnancy and immunity. Studies have linked Vitamin D deficiency to osteoporosis, abdominal obesity and visceral fat.
Medical Conditions That Benefit From Vitamin D
Because psoriasis shares genetic factors with obesity and metabolic syndrome, it is considered an autoimmune condition and not just a skin condition. If you have psoriasis it is crucial to have your vitamin D levels tested and keep the levels in the range of 40-60 ng/ml. Serotonin also boosts mood and helps you feel focused and calm.
Studies have shown that a Vitamin D level of only 40 ng/ml decreases your cancer risk by 67%, compared to a level of 20 ng/ml.
- Mood and mental health
Sun exposure boosts the level of serotonin, the hormone which makes us feel happy. Spending some time in sunlight will help you feel better and also relieve symptoms of depression.
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
Studies showed that Vitamin D3 supplementation can regulate hyperactive immune responses, while MS patients with higher levels of Vitamin D experienced less disabling symptoms.
Risk of melanoma and how to prevent it
Many people avoid sun exposure for fear of skin cancer. But scientists say that there is a risk of only 1.35% of developing melanoma due to sun exposure. Now compare this percentage with 67% fewer chances of having any other type of cancer.
You should know that melanoma is caused by overexposure to UV radiation, from either the sun or sun beds. You should avoid sunburn and use sunscreen on the sensitive areas. Also, if you have light skin, you should avoid staying in the sun for long periods.
For most people, a safe UV exposure is possible if they know their skin type and the periods when they should get exposed to sunlight. It is better to choose the morning and afternoon, to avoid the harmful UV radiation.
If you have not been in the sun for a long time, be careful with your first exposure and try to limit your initial time in the sun. You should also be aware of the fact that dietary Vitamin D supplements are not enough to compensate for the lack of sunlight.