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Why Vitamin D is called Sunshine Vitamin

Why Vitamin D is called Sunshine Vitamin


Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that acts as a steroid hormone. Vitamin D influences the bones, intestines, immune and cardiovascular systems, pancreas, muscles, brain, and the control of cell cycles. Vitamin D is unique because it can be made in the skin from exposure to sunlight. Thirty to 90 minutes in the sun will give the average person all the daily vitamin D he/she needs. The key is in the skin’s oils -- a derivative of cholesterol called 7-dehydrocholesterol. When exposed to sunshine, this compound is converted to cholecalciferol – which is then converted to the actual vitamin D, known as: 25-hydroxy-cholecalciferol, or D3. Therefore, Vitamin D is called sunshine vitamin.

Vitamin D insufficiency affects almost 50% of the population worldwide. An estimated 1 billion people worldwide, across all ethnicities and age groups, have a vitamin D deficiency. The high prevalence of vitamin D insufficiency is a particularly important public health issue because hypovitaminosis D is an independent risk factor for total mortality in the general population. Obtaining sufficient vitamin D from natural food sources alone is difficult. Consumption of vitamin D-fortified foods and exposure to some sunlight are essential for maintaining a healthy vitamin D status. Dietary supplements might be required to meet the daily need for vitamin D in infants, older adults, pregnant mothers etc.

 

 

What are Sunscreens and what is their importance

 

Sunscreen is a lotion, spray, gel or other topical product that absorbs or reflects some of the sun's ultraviolet (UV) radiation and thus helps protect against sunburn. Depending on the mode of action, sunscreens can be classified into physical sunscreens (i.e., those that reflect the sunlight) or chemical sunscreens (i.e., those that absorb the UV light) Sunscreen use can help prevent melanoma and squamous cell carcinoma.

The most common sunscreens on the market contain chemical filters. These products typically include a combination of two to six of these active ingredients: oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate and octinoxate. Mineral sunscreens use zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide.

The SPF rating is a measure of the fraction of sunburn-producing UV rays that reach the skin. For example, "SPF 15" means that 1/15th of the burning radiation will reach the skin, assuming sunscreen is applied evenly at a thick dosage of 2 milligrams per square centimeter (mg/cm2). A user can determine the effectiveness of a sunscreen "by multiplying the SPF factor by the length of time it takes for him or her to suffer a burn without sunscreen."

Using sunscreen, seeking shade and wearing protective clothing are all important behaviors to reduce risk of skin cancer. Scientific evidence supports the benefits of using sunscreen to minimize short-term and long-term damage to the skin from the sun’s rays. But, using sunscreen decreases skin’s production of vitamin D. In that case there is a need of taking vitamin D supplements and a healthy diet to compensate the inadequacy and avoid further ailments due to lack of Vitamin D.