Good Day Sunshine: Vitamin D In Smart Doses Helps Avert Many Problems – Hartford Courant

The sun’s out, so go out and play.

If you’re like me, you probably heard this admonishment more than once from your mother or a friend’s mom while growing up. Yet despite how annoying the advice may have seemed when a favorite television show felt like a better option, health experts are moving ever closer to agreement that it’s among the best pieces of advice any of us will get.

The benefits of exercise and fresh air aside, what we often fail to appreciate while outdoors is simply the sunlight — that life-sustaining energy that bestows a myriad of biochemical perks on us and the absence of which is extraordinarily bad for our health.

For reasons best understood by the biochemists and endocrinologists, the ultraviolet energy in sunlight converts a cholesterol-related compound found in the skin to vitamin D. A little more jiggering by native enzymes and some magic performed in the liver and kidneys and you get a bioactive hormone that regulates an array of biological functions ranging from bone formation to cell communication throughout the body.


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