Read This Report On How To Compensate For The Lack Of Sunlight And Vitamin D
Compensate Low exposure to natural light is one of the side effects of confinement due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This measure to cut the transmission of the new coronavirus can take its toll on health, but there are alternatives to compensate, at least in part, for the lack of contact with the spring sun. It should not be forgotten that those most affected will be those who live in interior houses and without balconies or terraces.
Sunlight is, as explained by Lorenzo Armenteros del Olmo, member of the Permanent Commission of the Spanish Society of General and Family Doctors (SEMG) and spokesperson for this organization in the COVID-19 pandemic, crucial “for life on our planet ”, although humans,“ unlike other living beings, we are homeothermic, which means that we do not depend on sunlight to regulate and maintain our temperature. Our main source of heat is our metabolism. ”
However, we need the sun for the synthesis of vitamin D, which is very important for bone mineralization, among other functions. The light of the star king also affects the quality of sleep and mental health. In addition, there are indications that it exerts a certain influence on memory and learning.
Vitamin D fulfills different tasks, among which the following stand out: Regulate the body’s defense system. Regulate calcium metabolism, essential for bone health. Help control blood pressure and the proper functioning of arteries.
“Prolonged vitamin D deficiency can affect these functions”, highlights Sergio Mejía, cardiologist and vice president of the Spanish Society for Health and Integrative Medicine (Sesmi). “This is why it is important for people to be able to find ways to sunbathe frequently while this alert situation lasts.”
Sunlight is essential for our body to produce melatonin, known as the sleep hormone. Home confinement can alter the circadian rhythms that control the sleep and wake cycle, in which natural light plays a crucial role. “People who live in houses with less luminosity, low floors, with little natural light or located towards interior patios will be more affected”, predicts Armenteros. “All moments with the highest light intensity should be used if it is not possible to enjoy direct sunlight.”
The expert also advises “maintain a discipline of sleep, continue with a routine similar to that of our daily normality and get up and go to bed at the hours that we normally do.” In the same way, he recommends not falling into the temptation, guided by abulia or discouragement, to “extend the hours of sleep and stay up late, since we will alter our habitual rhythm and that will affect our state of mind”.
Quarantine can also have a negative impact on mental health, including serotonin levels, the production of which depends on sunlight. “Serotonin acts as a hormone in different parts of the body and as a neurotransmitter in the brain,” says Mejía. “That is, it is one of those communication units that neurons capture to influence each other creating brain activation dynamics and chain effects.” In the body, this substance participates, fundamentally, in the regulation of digestion and appetite, mood states, body temperature, sexual desire and sleep states together with melatonin.
Brief Article Teaches You The Ins And Outs Of How To Compensate For The Lack Of Sunlight And Vitamin D And What You Should Do Today
Armenteros comments that the reduction of serotonin levels as a consequence of less exposure to sunlight “could induce a depressive effect, which would be added to situations of anxiety, fear of disease and uncertainty” caused by the pandemic. This increase in depressive feelings can be manifested in the form of “irritability, asthenia despite sleeping more, anorexia, greater drive towards the consumption of foods rich in fats or carbohydrates, apathy, sadness, difficulty concentrating, tendency to isolate family members or friends, alteration of emotions and decrease or lack of sexual desire, as well as the aggravation of existing depressive processes ”.
The impact of sunlight on learning is not yet scientifically supported. At the moment, these are “different lines of study, even without conclusive results, that work with the hypothesis that sunlight improves neurological behaviors through neurotransmitters and, thus, improves mood, learning and memory ”, explains the representative of the SEMG.
However, it is not necessary to wait for the confirmation of this hypothesis to consider that, in this period of confinement, in which many people telework and children and adolescents must continue with their schooling, “it is most advisable to carry out these tasks in the phases of the day with greater solar luminosity ”.
Sunbaths and possible substitutes
Making up for poor sun exposure in this confined situation is difficult. Logically, the main recommendation is to behave like plants that always seek sunlight. In this case, it will be necessary to pay attention to the times of the day when the sun seeps in through the windows and balconies; not forgetting that skin cancer does not understand quarantines.
Armenteros specifies that, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), “in summer and spring it is enough if the sun gives us arms and faces for 10-15 minutes at least 3 times a week”. That exposure would suffice for a correct synthesis of vitamin D. “Using protection to prevent damage to the skin if you are going to be in the sun longer,” he warns.
There is another source of vitamin D: food or, rather, certain foods. Among them are: Blue fish: salmon, tuna, bonito, sardines, anchovies and mackerel. Liver: pâtés, foie gras. Fruits: avocado. Eggs. Enriched foods: cereals, yogurt, milk, margarine.
These sources of vitamin D are essential, according to María Achón y Tuñón, director of the Degree in Human Nutrition and Dietetics at the CEU San Pablo University (Madrid), “when the amount of sunlight containing ultraviolet radiation is limited -in winter- or Exposure to sunlight is restricted due to lack of time outdoors or little exposure to the skin, as is the case of the quarantine that we are suffering from. ”
The expert proposes the following daily or weekly servings of foods rich in vitamin D: Fish: 3-4 servings a week, alternating whites and blues. Eggs: 3 servings weekly. Dairy: 2-3 servings daily.
Vitamin D supplements can also be used, but Armenteros highlights that, with the data currently available, “it is not recommended, at the moment, to supplement with vitamin D in general; however, there are individual situations and risk groups that may need specific treatments. ” In this sense, Mejía recalls that before taking supplements, “it is always good to consult an expert due to the different health conditions of each and the different needs.”