Life on Earth cannot happen without sunshine. In addition to all the fundamental reasons for which we need sunlight, the production of vitamin D in our bodies needs the sun rays to be triggered. If sunlight reaches our skins in only insufficient amounts, the risk for developing cancer might be greater, as indicated by a new study.
We need a little bit of mostly everything from our environment to survive, and that includes sunshine. We need enough of it to hit our skin to trigger the production of vitamin D, the deficiency of which comes with repercussions. A new study has added to the bulk of evidence suggesting that lack of sunshine leads to health problems. The researchers surveyed 96 000 people in Denmark for 4 decades, testing blood samples of theirs for vitamin D together with monitoring their diets, and found that those having the lowest vitamin D concentrations had a 40 % greater risk of having cancer.
Vitamin D is produced by the action of sunlight on the skin. It is also obtained from an adequate diet. The former accounts for four fifths of the vitamin D that we need, while the rest of the recommended dose comes from the food we consume. So, we obviously need sunshine.
However, people from the north of Europe might not be having enough of sunlight. They would need around 5 to 30 minutes of sunlight on their skin several times weekly to stimulate the production of vitamin D. But, during the colder months, from October to March, the sunlight that does flood the European skies is not deemed sufficient. Therefore, the people can only compensate for this lack by taking in more foods that supply them with the vitamin.
One of the authors of the study said: “Our study shows that low vitamin D levels do result in higher mortality rates, but the best way of increasing vitamin D levels in the population remains unclear. We still need to establish the amount of vitamin D to be added, as well as how and when it is most effective: Should we get vitamin D from the sun, through our diet or as vitamin supplements? And should it be added in the foetal stage via the mother, during childhood or when we have reached adulthood?”
This study marks the first time that evidence that a lack of vitamin D can lead to increase in mortality rates was gleaned.