Even though I grew up in Arizona, where the summer heat can be brutal, I love sunshine. Perhaps some of my love of being outside is connected to feelings of riding Misty Soda, my first horse, a pale palomino. After school, no matter the temperature, I would rush to go riding. Perhaps some of my love of the sun is remembrance of teenage years laying by the pool, getting tan, taking a dip in the cool water and the feeling of water evaporating from my skin.
Research indicates my love of sunshine may be more than just wonderful memory triggers.
In the top layer of our skin, we have a substance called 7-dehydrocholesterol. Sunlight stimulates the production of vitamin D3 from that substance. Vitamin D3 is then taken to the liver and kidneys to become the most effective form of vitamin D..
Most know that vitamin D is linked to strong bones and teeth. Less known is research shows vitamin D deficiency also plays a role in some cases of depression, chronic fatigue and an increased tendency to infections.
For those who live in less sunny climates you can get vitamin D from foods too:
- milk (especially full cream)
- fortified margarine
- breakfast cereals
- meal replacement shakes.
Vitamin D is fat-soluble – so if you take a vitamin D supplement, eating healthy food with a little bit of fat such as fish, avocado or nuts at the same time.
My adult years have been spent in California and my favorite place is the beach. I know I am always more relaxed and happier when outside – being supercharged with vitamin D from the sun!