Recently in my Anatomy and Physiology class we have been learning about the bones. My teacher brought up the disease Rickets. He explained that during the turn of the century children were developing leg bone deformities in places like Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia due to lack of sunlight. Before child labor laws they would work down in mines beginning before sunrise and finishing after sunset. In this pivotal time of growth in childhood, they were never exposed to sunlight that activated the vitamin D in their bodies. This caused them to develop Rickets.
Because we have been blessed to have some really beautiful weather days, along with daylight savings time, it made me think how important vitamin D is to our bodies. I had to do a little research.
Vitamin D aids in the body’s absorption and metabolism of calcium and phosphorus and maintaining strong, healthy bones. We synthesize it in the skin when we are in the sun, which is why it can be known as the “sunshine vitamin.” This is why the bones of those children weren’t developing properly. Our body’s are like plants that need sunshine to grow and maintain strength and nourishment.
Those of us who work in offices and are cooped up all day long, only see the sun on a lunch break, if that’s even possible. So what happens during the winter when we almost never see the light of day? Thankfully, turns out, that if you’re drinking milk and juice fortified with vitamin D, eating eggs, certain types of fish (tuna, salmon, swordfish, sardines) and yogurt, you are a-okay on the vitamin D scale. Though, if you take cod liver oil, that’s probably the best option with the maximum amount of IUs of vitamin D you can ingest.
But it’s so nice out now! Just being outside in direct sunlight for 10-15 minutes without sunscreen is a great way to get the vitamin D working in the body. Though, the UVB rays do not go through glass, so sitting in your car or by an office window with sunlight beaming through doesn’t work. I strongly recommend everyone get outside, take a walk, breathe in the fresh air. You are doing something good for your mind and body on so many different levels.