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Tanned skin can reduce body’s vitamin D production

Working on your summer tan already? Don’t overdo it or you may risk weak teeth and bones.

Spring is here! The longer days mean we can finally cast off our winter coats and let the sunshine caress our skin. And so long as we don’t get a little over excited burn, time outside is not only pleasant but also good for your bones thanks to the vitamin D your body creates using UV from the Sun.

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But a new study by the Endocrine Society finds that even people who would rather bathe in the sun than their bathrooms can scratch the border of vitamin D deficiency.

What did they find out?

Researchers examining the skin type of 986 inhabitants of the sunny Brazilian city of Recife found that those who spent more time in the sun were less likely to have vitamin D deficiency than those who rarely felt the warmth of sunbeams. But also those who excessively basked in the sunshine tended to be vitamin D deficient as well.

Why is that?

Of course we all love to work on our tan, but why is it that more sun is inhibiting our ability to create vit D?

It turns out that the pigments you create after a spell in the Sun, which give you that bronzed look we all desire, are the root cause. The greater number of pigments created by the body’s natural defence against the dangerous effects of UV radiation actually reduces the amount of UV the body can access for the production of vitamin D.

“Our findings suggest that skin tanning, which is a natural protection against the harmful effects of UV irradiation, limits the progressive rise in serum vitamin D,” says Francisco Bandeira, the study’s lead author.

So when you‘re next getting a tan in the sunshine, make sure you stock up vitamin D first.


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