Benefits of Vitamin D - How much time in the Sun is enough?

Dr. Ibtihal Mohsin Ameen, General Practitioner at our clinic, explains to us why Vitamin D is important for us.

Vitamin D is called a vitamin but in reality, it is a hormone. Vitamins are not produced by bodies; we get them from dietary sources, whereas hormones like Vitamin D are made in the body. It’s the body’s only source of calcitrol (activated vitamin D), the most potent steroid hormone in the body.

Just like any other steroid hormone, Vitamin D hormone is involved in making hundreds of enzymes and proteins, which are crucial for preserving health and preventing disease. Dr. Ibtihal tells us that Vitamin D hormone is required for proper functioning of the endocrine, immune, and nervous system, as well as bone formation and serotonin (the happy hormone) production. This steroid hormone also helps promote bone growth by influencing osteoblast cells.

Sunlight is the main source of stocking up Vitamin D in your body and there is abundance of Sunlight in UAE. Soaking up sun in the morning will help protect you against a number of diseases such as colon cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer, heart disease and osteoporosis. Some other benefits of regular sunlight include protection from an overactive immune system, insomnia and depression.

But we have to be watchful of the time we spend in the sun. Too much sun exposure can cause melanoma and skin aging, while too little creates an inadequate production of vitamin D. As a general rule, Dr. Ibtihal suggests that about 20 minutes a day exposure to the sun in the summer and fall, on your face and arms or legs, without sunscreen is adequate. Another way to maintain your daily Vitamin D requirement is by taking a Vitamin D3 supplement.

There are also some serious consequences if you do not maintain your daily intake of Vitamin D. Dr. Ibtihal states that “Vitamin D deficiency is prevalent in this region and the symptoms that someone may face includes fatigue, lack of energy, muscle ache and bone pain, low mood and irritability. However, for many people, the symptoms are subtle. Yet even without symptoms, too little vitamin D can pose serious health risks.”

Dr. Ibtihal continues on and says, “If anyone feels tired, weak, suffering from back, neck or joint pain, then they should have their Vitamin D level checked immediately. This can be found out by doing a simple blood test”. At Medicure Clinic, we provide a blood test (25-hydroxy-vitamin D) which gives accurate results quickly. You can come to our Medicure Clinic DSO branch and book an appointment for this Blood test or call us at +971 (4) 379 3931.

--This article is written by our resident General Practitioner, Dr. Ibtihal Mohsin Ameen , MBCHB, Diploma - Community Medicine. She is available for consulting at Medicure Clinic DSO 8am to 9pm. Contact us at +971 (4) 379 3931 to setup an appointment. --