You love the sun but are you getting enough sunshine vitamin?

Now that our government has finally implemented the Recovery Movement Control Order period, we can finally go outdoors freely (albeit with precautions!) and enjoy our sunny Malaysian weather in parks.  Who doesn’t love to bask in the sun?  But have you ever wondered, despite living in a hot country, are you getting enough Vitamin D, or “sunshine vitamin”, and why does it matter?

Vitamin D is produced in your body after sun exposure, and it is known to help build strong bones by increasing your body’s absorption of calcium phosphorus.  It is also obtained through food rich in Vitamin D, and supplements.

When your body lacks Vitamin D, it will lead to a loss of bone density, which can contribute to osteoporosis and fractures. I am sure many of us can recall learning about osteoporosis from the many milk advertisements that used to be shown on TV many years ago.

But that is not all. Vitamin D deficiency can also cause other bone diseases such as osteomalacia and rickets, and has been linked to an increased risk of developing heart diseases, high blood pressure, diabetes, colon, prostate and breast cancer, mood disorders, autoimmune disorders and dementia.

What causes us to have low Vitamin D levels, despite living in a country that is perpetually sunny?

Inadequate sun exposure - with the heightened awareness of the dangers of excessive sun exposure, most of us go outdoors covered in sunscreen, which is the right thing to do to prevent premature ageing and skin cancer - however, it is wise to balance the risks and benefits of sun exposure, by going out under the sun for 10-15 minutes in the morning between 7am-9am without sunscreen to maintain healthy Vitamin D levels.

Your age - your skin’s ability to produce Vitamin D drops with age.  When you hit 65, your body only generates one fourth of the Vitamin D that your body produced when you were in your 20’s.

Your skin colour - darker skin absorbs less Ultraviolet B (UVB) rays from the sun, producing less Vitamin D.

Your weight - Vitamin D is stored in fat, so obese individuals with a BMI>30 have less Vitamin D circulating in their blood.

Your diet - eating not enough Vitamin D rich food is one of the causes of Vitamin D deficiency.

Diseases such as chronic kidney disease and diseases which affect absorption of fat soluble Vitamin D.

What food are naturally rich in Vitamin D?

Cod liver oil, salmon, tuna, Vitamin D fortified milk and orange juice, yogurt, sardines, beef liver, egg yolk, fortified cereals and cheese are food which are natural high in Vitamin D.

It is of utmost importance to maintain a healthy level of Vitamin D in the body because osteoporosis, which is common among post menopausal women, can significantly affect the quality of life. 

Visit us at Anna Hoo Clinic to get yourself tested for your Vitamin D levels and learn how to boost your immunity to achieve optimal health-remember, health optimization is an option!

by Dr.Arzhealza R.