Consequences of Lack of Sun

By: Jessica Aspiras Email
By: Jessica Aspiras Email

It's not often you see the sun during Mid-Michigan winters. For the most part it's hidden behind a mass of gray clouds.

"I am so tired of winter," says Mary Prinze. "I am praying for spring -- any time, any second would be fine with me with me."

"Gloomy, down in the dumps, it's depressing," Laurence Bush says.

That lack of sunshine can not only affect a person's emotional health, it can affect a person's physical health. That's because the sun provides Vitamin D, without it there's an increased risk of colon cancer, breast cancer and heart disease.

Dr. Kimberly Johnson with Charlotte Medical Group says the most significant disease from a lack of Vitamin D is osteoporosis.

"Osteoporosis can be caused by a calcium deficiency, but in order to adequately absorb your calcium, you have to have enough Vitamin D to facilitate that absorptive that process."

A recent study released by Boston University School of Medicine, found that people living in states in northern latitudes are 74 percent Vitamin D deficient during the month of February. For the average person, at least 400 international units of Vitamin D a day is recommended.

"Most dairy products are fortified with Vitamin D now, such as milk, cottage cheese, cheeses, yogurt, fatty fishes, fishes with omega-three oils which are also good for the heart have Vitamin D," Dr. Johnson explains.

The UV Foundation recommends supplements and even moderate exposure to UV rays from tanning beds. The best source is always the sun, of course, but when that sun refuses to peak out from behind the clouds, your next best bet is to get Vitamin D artificially.

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