Your skin is your body's largest organ and a vital one. Not only is it responsible for regulating your body's temperature, but it also manufactures one of the most important substances your body absolutely needs: vitamin D. This essential vitamin is sometimes nicknamed The Sunshine Vitamin because your skin actually creates it when exposed to the sun. And it doesn't take long; your skin can manufacture it by being exposed to the sun for just half the amount of time it takes for your skin to burn. You might think it's pretty neat that our skin can create vitamin D but wonder why we need it at all? There are several fascinating reasons.
One of the most important reasons your body needs vitamin D is to promote bone growth. You've probably heard that calcium strengthens bones, and that's very true, but without vitamin D your body is unable to absorb any of the calcium you ingest. The mineral and the vitamin work together to create strong bones. Because of this, a vitamin D deficiency can cause children to develop rickets or soft bones and adults to develop osteomalacia or misshapen bones.
Another reason your body needs The Sunshine Vitamin is to promote healthy skin. Your skin and vitamin D have an important relationship. Your body needs healthy skin in order to create the vitamin D that the rest of your body needs, and at the same time, your skin needs vitamin D to maintain its own health. In fact, vitamin D plays a major role in the regular growth and proliferation of skin cells. Additionally, because uncontrolled skin cell growth can lead to cancer, vitamin D plays an important role in skin cancer prevention as well.
Reduction of Depression
Another proven benefit of vitamin D is that it can help in regulating moods and help fight off the symptoms of depression. In fact, one study has shown that people suffering from depression who were given regular vitamin D supplements showed improvement in their symptoms of depression. It's for this reason that some people treat seasonal depression by installing UV lights in their home, lights that are designed to assist in the manufacture of vitamin D by the skin.
In addition to preventing problems associated with low calcium and weak bones like rickets and osteomalacia, vitamin D has also been proven to help prevent other surprising and seemingly unrelated diseases like heart disease, multiple sclerosis, and even influenza.
For more information, contact an expert like Tina K.