After listening to the Club’s most recent guest speaker, Steve Anderson, the Rotarians of the Rotary Club of Forest Lake and their partners found out that the sun is not as bad as the experts claim.
All the experts claim that we need to wear long sleeved shirts, long trousers, broad brim hats and sunscreen whenever we venture into the sunlight. However, the lack of being exposed to direct sunlight results in a deficiency in Vitamin D, which is produced by the body in response to skin being exposed to sunlight. It is also occurs naturally in a few foods including some fish, fish liver oils, and egg yolks and in fortified dairy and grain products.
Vitamin D is a hormone that controls calcium levels in the blood. It is crucial for bone and muscle development, and for preventing osteoporosis. Vitamin D deficiency may not result in any obvious symptoms, but without treatment it can have significant health effects and increase a person’s risk of musculoskeletal conditions, such as:
  • Bone and muscle pain

  • Rickets (soft, weakened bones) in children

  • Osteopenia (weak, fragile bones) in older adults.

  • As well as maintaining your vitamin D levels, you also need adequate calcium in your diet to help prevent these conditions.

  • Low vitamin D has also been linked to an increased risk of:

  • Multiple sclerosis

  • Diabetes (type1 and type 2)

  • Various types of cancers (particularly colon cancer)

  • Heart disease

  • Mental health conditions (including schizophrenia)

  • Worse outcomes in stroke

  • Altered immunity and other autoimmune diseases.

Recommending Sun Exposure

recommenced exposure of 5–15 minutes of sunlight 4–6 times a week outside the hours of 10 am–2 pm seems prudent. Certainly, avoidance of the most dangerous ultraviolet exposure in the middle of the day is appropriate, especially in summer, with responsible use of ultraviolet blocking agents. Guidelines on exposure to sunshine need to be tailored to the individual; one size does not fit all. Many factors need to be considered including geographical location such as latitude, season, time of day, skin colour, age and particularly clothing.