Maintaining good bone health is prime for a healthy life. With the setting of the winter season, especially in cities which has more pollution and little scope for sun rays to make its way through, natural vitamin D is hard to come by. Vitamin D synthesis in the body is reduced to a bare minimum because the quality of sun exposure is reduced. Dr. Vishwadeep Sharma Senior consultant, Arthroscopy & Sports injuries, Dept of Orthopaedics at Fortis Flt. Lt. Rajan Dhall Hospital sheds light on the subject.
Many studies have been conducted to estimate the best time in the day to get sun exposure and how much of the sunlight is needed to maintain adequate levels of Vitamin D. The Sunshine with UVB radiation is the Radiation essential in the synthesis of Vitamin D. Broadly speaking about 20 percent of the body, especially arms and Legs if exposed to sunlight for a minimum of fifteen minutes a day can help in the synthesis of a good amount of Vitamin D.
The next question to be addressed is the time of the day best suited for the exposure to sunlight. As against the myth of early morning and late evening sunshine, it is actually the afternoon sun between 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. which is most apt for the synthesis of the vitamin D from the skin of the human body. For this, the exposed area of the skin has to be free from any topical sun-blocking creams or other agents.
Women especially pre-menopausal and the post-menopausal category are prone to osteoporosis and osteomalacia. Women who cover themselves fully (HIJAB) and with excessive use of sunblock creams have lower levels of Vitamin D with decreased bone density. Osteomalacia in adults and rickets in children are secondary to deficiency of Vitamin D. This chronic deficiency can cause a lot of disability for the particular age group. These conditions are entirely preventable by for measures like fortification of foods and dietary supplements.
Vitamin D is also essentially a hormone with its action directly at the level, of the nucleus of each and every cell in the body. Personal habits like smoking, excessive alcohol use can have a severe effect on bone metabolism with worsening of Osteoporosis and are best avoided.