Had your sun bath today?
Prof (Dr) K Satya Lakshmi Exposure to sun is the human race's natural and most effective source of Vitamin-D. However it is realised that it is the ...
Prof (Dr) K Satya Lakshmi Exposure to sun is the human race's natural and most effective source of Vitamin-D. However it is realised that it is the most neglected vitamin both by the medical fraternity as well as general public. The fear of pigmentation and craze for fair skin making people protect themselves from this natural source of Vitamin-D by applying UV-protection creams. While overexposure to sunlight carries risk for white skin people, the public into believing that any UV exposure is harmful. No research has shown that regular, non-burning exposure to UV light poses a significant risk of skin damage. Humans spend less time in the sun today than at any point in human history � which is why more than 1 billion people worldwide are Vit-D deficient. Bio-Chemistry Vit-D is a group of fat-soluble vitamins responsible for intestinal absorption of calcium and phosphate. In humans, the most important related compounds of Vit-D are vit-D2 (ergocalciferol) and vit-D3 (Cholecalciferol) are unique as they constitute what is known as Vit-D and can be ingested from the diet and/or supplements. The body can also synthesize vitamin D (from cholesterol) when sun exposure is adequate (hence its nickname, the "sunshine vitamin"). Sunshine is a free commodity, and prevents osteoporosis, heart diseases, all types of allergies, and even many forms of cancers. All the above said health conditions, according to hundreds of studies, are now strongly linked to Vit-D deficiency. One of the most important roles of Vit-D is to maintain skeletal calcium balance by promoting calcium absorption in the intestines, maintaining calcium and phosphate levels for bone formation, and allowing proper functioning of parathyroid hormone to maintain serum calcium levels. Vit-D deficiency can result in lower bone mineral density and an increased risk of reduced bone density(osteoporosis) or bone fracture because lack of Vit-D alters mineral metabolism in the body. Geo-Chemistry and Sun-shine Humans make 90 percent of our Vit-D naturally from sunlight exposure to our skin � specifically, from ultraviolet B exposure to the skin, which naturally initiates the conversion of cholesterol in the skin to vitamin D3. Natural Vitamin-D A few foods naturally contain or are fortified with supplemental Vit-D. For example, an 8-ounce glass of whole milk is fortified with 100 IU (international units) of vitamin D � just 10 percent of what the most conservative vitamin D researchers now say we need daily. In contrast, sun exposure to the skin makes thousands of units of vitamin D naturally in a relatively short period of time. While vitamin D supplements are an alternative means of producing vitamin D when regular, non-burning sun exposure is not possible, oral supplementation of vitamin D is not nature's intended means of producing this vitamin. The doctor is Director, Vemana Yoga Research Institute Hyderabad-16