We all know Vitamin D is of great importance to our health and aging. However, researchers have made it clear that the factors which affect our Vitamin D levels are complicated.
Your skin’s absorption of UVB sun rays is the best source of vitamin D. This does, however, come with concerns of its own as we are all aware that sun exposure can lead to a few health nasties.
You can also source Vitamin D from food products or supplements which have had the vitamin artificially added to them. Although, studies have indicated that this results in varying levels of success.
Harvard Medical School explains that the body’s process of making Vitamin D is complex. It starts with the absorption of UVB rays. The liver and kidneys then get involved in making a form of the vitamin that the body can use.
There are myriad factors that influence a person’s Vitamin D levels. Harvard Medical School shares the six important ones.
1. Air Quality
Your Vitamin D levels are affected by air pollution. Carbon particles exist in the air around us as a result of the burning of fossil fuels and wood. These scatter and destroy UVB rays lowering vitamin D production.
2. Skin Colour
We all know that melanin is what causes skin to be darker or lighter in appearance. What not all of us are aware of is that melanin competes for UVB with the substance in the skin that creates vitamin D. As a result individuals with darker skin require more UVB exposure to generate the same Vitamin D levels.
3. Where You Live
How far away from the equator do you stay? The further away you are, the less vitamin D producing UVB light reaches you during the winter months. Short days and clothing which cover your arms and legs will also reduce the amount of UVB you absorb.
4. Use Of Sunscreen
Most people believe that sunscreen will inhibit UVB production. While it does prevent sunburn by blocking UVB light, most people do not put on enough sunscreen to block all UVB light.
Many people also often use sunscreen irregularly. These two factors suggest that sunscreens effect on vitamin D may not be that important.
Older people have less of the substance that the body uses to convert UVB light into Vitamin D. As a result they are less efficient at Vitamin D production and require greater UVB exposure.
While body fat does sop up vitamin D, there are questions around whether or not the body can actually use this as a store when levels of the vitamin are low. It has been suggested that being overweight actually decreases the bioavailability of vitamin D resulting in low levels of the vitamin.
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