It’s springtime in the great North East; birds are singing, the grass is growing and the sun is shining. And in this time of isolation, I urge you to step outside, drink in the beauty of nature and soak up the warm sunshine; and of course respecting social distancing!

And speaking of the sun, as kids many of us spent countless hours playing outside enjoying the sunny weather. But as adults the fear of developing skin cancer changed that carefree attitude. And because of this sun phobia, 40% of adults are vitamin D deficient putting them at risk for developing some serious health consequences.

Known as the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D plays a vital role in your body assisting with the absorption of calcium and phosphorus in the blood.
Almost a decade ago noted vitamin D researcher Michael Holick MD, PhD, warned that staying out of the sun results in a significant drop in vitamin D levels.

Medical News Today recently reported on a study from the University of California –San Diego School of Medicine, which suggests a link between vitamin D deficiency and an increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease and 17 varieties of cancer.

Some symptoms of you might have a vitamin D deficiency include; low back pain, fatigue, depression, anxiety, dry skin, increased hair loss and muscle pain. However the most accurate way measure how much vitamin D is in your body is by asking your doctor to run the 25-hydroxy vitamin D blood test.

But There Is Good News:
According to research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and the Journal of the American Medical Association when bare skin is exposed to sunlight amazing things happen including; regulation of glucose and insulin levels, prevention of depression, protection against cardiovascular disease and autoimmune diseases like MS, lupus and psoriasis, supports healthy teeth and gums, boosts immune function and helps with memory, learning and concentration.

Sunshine is your best source of vitamin D however, certain foods like fatty fish, cheese, egg yolks, Portobello mushrooms and vitamin D supplements can also boost your levels.

Dr. Holick, a long time proponent of sensible sun exposure states “you should never, ever get sunburn, that’s what increases the risk for melanoma and other skin cancers.” Holick suggests that if you’re going to get limited sun exposure, you should do it between 10:00 am and 3:00 pm for significant sun exposure. Protect your face and top of your ears because they are the most sun-exposed and sun damaged areas.

And finally, allow 10-15 minutes of unprotected sun exposure to your arms, legs, abdomen and back. Then follow up with good sun protection like 30 SPF or higher.

According to David Servan-Schreiber, M.D., Ph.D. says “Following Dr. Holicks advice about vitamin D is possibly the single most important thing you can do to improve your health and save yourself from many chronic diseases including cancer”.

Enjoy the beautiful sunshine, stay safe and smile!