- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
It is that time of year again for slathering on the sunscreen or lying out in the sun to get a suntan. There is much controversy as to what to do. Some say that the sun causes cancer, wrinkles and dried-out skin. Others say you have to have sunlight in order for your skin to make Vitamin D. Perhaps the answer is in the middle: Some sun but not too much.
Our bodies make vitamin D from the sun; an essential vitamin that is more like a hormone than a vitamin. It is made when the sun shines on our skin, the largest organ on the human body. It is the ultraviolet rays from the sun that perform the function. There are two types of UV rays: UVA and UVB. It is the UVB that makes the Vitamin D. It combines with cholesterol on your skin to make Vitamin D.
You canít sit in front of a glass window and hope to get your Vitamin D. UVA rays will penetrate glass and turn you red but the UVB will not. It must be direct sunlight.
You can know if you have enough Vitamin D by getting a test done. It is the 25(OH) D test. To be safe your numbers should be greater than 20 nanograms per milliliter. For more benefit it should be higher. That is all for your doctor to explain to you.
I was talking to a Mennonite lady one day and said that I was worried about the Mennonite and the Amish ladies that they were not getting enough sun. She said that when she goes out into the garden she always faces the sun. She has bare feet and rolls her sleeves up some.
All mammals and birds need Vitamin D just as we do. In fact, all living things start with the sun, from the tallest tree to the smallest one-cell algae.
It is there for the taking. Get your share. And it is free.
Bill Bartlett, Valley Lee