Many people are aware of the dangers of overexposure to the sun. Skin cancer is at the top of the list of those dangers, and while we need to educate ourselves and understand how to properly protect ourselves from damage, caused by too much time spent in direct contact with the sun, we can’t simply avoid it altogether.
Not getting enough sun has health risks associated with it too. That’s because when our bodies come into contact with sunlight, our skin translates it into a very important vitamin: vitamin D. in turn, once our body has vitamin D, it becomes a hormone that plays an important role in our bone structure, immune system, and even our mental health.
Although you can take supplements of have a more complete diet to increase your vitamin D levels, the best way is to spend much needed time outside.
So, let’s look at what would happen when you don’t get enough vitamin D.
1. High blood pressure
There’s no doubt that a link exists between high blood pressure and lower vitamin D levels. Vitamin D works to fight the plaque that builds up in the blood vessels. Less vitamin D means more plaque. More plaque leads to restricted blood flow, higher blood pressure and the complications it causes.
Vitamin D is so powerful that is helps fight cancer. When our levels of this important vitamin are where they need to be, our immune system works properly and inhibits the growth of cancer cells. Vitamin D also has an anti-inflammatory effect, which reduces the risk for certain common cancers.
Research points to a link between optimal Vitamin D levels in young people, and their avoidance of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. Since vitamin D controls calcium levels, it’s believed that it also has the capacity to control blood sugar levels. When vitamin D levels are low, the body seems to have a more difficult time regulating blood sugar, and over time this could lead to the development of type 2 diabetes.
4. Rheumatoid arthritis
Once again linking vitamin D’s relationship to calcium, we understand it’s importance in bone health. Vitamin D helps the body absorb calcium, but when we don’t have enough of this vitamin, it causes our bones to be underdeveloped, and in old age become soft and brittle. A vitamin D deficiency also leads to poor muscle development. These factors greatly impact the possibility of the formation of rheumatoid arthritis.
The anti-inflammatory effects that vitamin D has tend to fight asthma. Asthma and other respiratory issues result, in part from inflammation in the lungs. People who live in large urban areas generally have less exposure to the sun, and lower vitamin D levels, which could cause them to be more susceptible to asthma than those in rural areas, who are more frequently exposed to direct sunlight.
IBD or Inflammatory Bowel Disease is caused when an offending agent causes the body’s immune system to produce inflammation in the intestinal tract. Because vitamin D is important to a properly functioning immune system and reduces inflammation, it reduces the risk of IBD.