July is National Parks and Outdoor Recreation Month
It’s that time of the year when we all spend more time outdoors and in the sunshine. I thought it a good time to discuss the importance of getting out doors and into the natural sunlight. So I’m going to talk about the “Sunshine Vitamin” or Vitamin D.
It has been suggested that people need approximately 5 to 30 minutes of sun exposure between 10am and 3pm at least twice a week, to the face, arms, legs or back to get sufficient vitamin D synthesis taking place in their bodies. This is without any sunscreen being on those exposed skin areas.
Vitamin D is needed for calcium absorption and to maintain adequate serum calcium levels. It also aids in normal mineralization of the bone, bone growth and bone remodeling and healing. Current research is focused on the benefits to the muscles from vitamin D. Vitamin D binds to the receptors in the muscle which promote growth and strength. So this Vitamin is a key component in staying healthy and active your entire life.
Research has shown that physical and athletic performance is seasonal and peaks when Vitamin D levels peak and drops when the level drops. This may be because of the increased size and number of fast twitch muscles fibers developed during higher Vitamin D levels during the summer months.
If a person doesn’t get enough sunshine on their skin then they need to supplement their diet with another source or risk having many health issues. An adequate intake levels for people from birth to 50 years old is 200 IU per day. Then doubles to 400 IU from 51 to 70 years of age and after age 71 it jumps to 600 IU per day. There is an upper limit of the amount of vitamin D one should take however or risk having too much calcium buildup in your blood, leading to many other serious health issues. Children up to one year old should get no more than 1000 IU per day and everyone else no more than 2,000 IU’s per day.