Did you know that your backyard swimming pool gives you added opportunities to benefit from one of the most natural vitamins in the world? (Or maybe we should say “in this solar system,” but that would probably give it away.) That’s right: our very own sun is necessary for the production of Vitamin D, an essential element all of us need in order for our bodies and minds to function healthfully. Along with plenty of other health benefits that come with having your very own swimming pool, the added access to Vitamin D is definitely a biggie. So what is Vitamin D and why is it so important? We’re about to explain all of that!
Vitamin D Production
When the human body is exposed to sunlight, the body naturally forms precursors to vitamin D. The UV radiation prompts the kidneys to convert those precursors into active vitamin D, which the bloodstream then carries throughout the body, in turn helping the immune system do its job. The powerful hormone we call Vitamin D also helps strengthen bones and even helps reduce several types of cancer: breast, colon, kidney, and ovarian.
Vitamin D Deficiencies
A remarkable 25% of Americans are either borderline deficient or clearly deficient of this important vitamin. In fact, 1 out of every 12 Americans has a serious Vitamin D deficiency. A remarkable 1 in 7 deaths in the US can be linked to a deficiency of Vitamin D3, according to a 2014 study. Some people are more at-risk of a Vitamin D deficiency than others; those especially at risk are breastfeeding infants, senior citizens, and those with darker skin tones. Regional and lifestyle factors also contribute, and seasonal weather certainly contributes to the likelihood of deficiencies.
A deficiency in Vitamin D can be difficult to determine, since many of the symptoms can be tied to other issues; many of them falsely lead to arthritis or fibromyalgia diagnoses and include achiness and general physical weakness, broken bones, depression, and a sweaty forehead. Since Vitamin D is required for calcium to be used to build strong bones, long-term health risks tied to a deficiency of Vitamin D include rickets (for children) and osteoporosis (for adults).
Vitamin D Solutions
If you have a backyard swimming pool, you have an extra opportunity to get that Vitamin D! If you live in an area where swimming pool season doesn’t last all year, though, you’ll need to be intentional about getting enough of this important hormone from November until March. If you live in snow country, you’ll want to be especially mindful of getting out in the sunlight when you can and eating foods rich in Vitamin D; examples include almond milk, orange juice, and wild-caught fish. If you think you have symptoms of a Vitamin D deficiency, ask your doctor about getting tested or being proactive by taking Vitamin D supplements.
Continue reading with Part 2.
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