A new clinical review indicates that around a billion people in the world suffer from vitamin D deficiency. This deficiency is owing to some form of disease, or because of the application of sunscreen on the body while exposed to the sun.

The skin produces vitamin D compound when it comes into contact with sunlight. However, due to the growing concern of skin cancer, many people prefer applying sunscreen lotions before going out.

What Causes Vitamin D Deficiency?

Researchers of the study posit that use of sunblock or sunscreen lotions has become quite common among people. However, the researchers stress that moderate exposure to sun does not increase the risk of melanoma or skin cancer, but instead helps the body metabolize the crucial vitamin D needed to maintain healthy bodily functions.

"People are spending less time outside and, when they do go out, they're typically wearing sunscreen, which essentially nullifies the body's ability to produce vitamin D," Kim Pfotenhauer, an assistant professor at Touro University and one of the researchers involved in the study, remarked.

Some diseases like Type 2 Diabetes, celiac disease, and kidney disorders greatly reduce the body's ability to metabolize the vitamin D3 component. These diseases were also held responsible for the global vitamin D deficiency.

Symptoms Of Vitamin D Deficiency

People with less vitamin D in their body usually report weakness in the muscle and may even experience bone fractures relatively easily vis-à-vis those who have sufficient vitamin D.

It is advisable that any individual who suffers from a chronic disease should also get their vitamin D level checked by medical practitioners.

Research trying to determine any link between vitamin D deficiency and autoimmune diseases, multiple sclerosis, respiratory disease, cancer, and more is also underway.

What Do Experts Advise?

According to researchers, it is essential for people to set aside some time every week to expose their skin to the sun's rays.

"You don't need to go sunbathing at the beach to get the benefits. A simple walk with arms and legs exposed is enough for most people," Pfotenhauer suggested.

Depending on the individual's skin tone, roughly 5 minutes to 30 minutes, spent under the mid-day sun twice a week will ensure that vitamin D levels are properly maintained. This time spent in sun should be without the application of any sunscreen, as SPF 15 reduces the skin's ability to metabolize vitamin D3 by 99 percent.

Consuming milk and Portobello mushrooms are a good way of boosting vitamin D levels in the body. People can also rely on vitamin D supplements. However, one should discuss the intake with their physician first.

The results of the study have been published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.

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