We have previously reported on the effects of Autumn and Winter weather on the health of the population of the Northern Hemisphere. Longer nights and shorter days, a significant drop in sunshine and freezing cold weather all add up to the potential for depression, SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and generally feeling low.

We reported on an article by Lorna Nessi back in July whereby she states that “It is possible to obtain vitamin D principally from food and food supplements, but the main and best source of vitamin D is sun exposure”. UV exposure has been recently demonised by the media, screaming headlines of the risk of cancer, but as we have previously demonstrated, the research in this area is not infallible.The research was based on a very small group and of this group, a negligible number used commercial sunbeds. Even statisticians have shown that the results from the research is not statistically significant and as such, further research is certainly required. However, we are currently in a position whereby the world population is so terrified of UV light, that SPF lotions are slathered on in bucketfuls, as Nessi says;

“Conflicting recommendations about the risks of sun exposure and its relationship to skin cancer has contributed to a lack of exposure to the sun’s UV rays as people cover up and use sunscreen. Nonetheless there are a multitude of factors at work here, and a sharp rise in time spent indoors must be considered as a significant contributing social factor”

Yes, there is always a risk of cancer if we expose ourselves to excess of any environment, product or food. Excess alcohol, smoking, red meat, mobile phone use, pollution and so on, but moderation is always the key when considering the human body. This excess in respect of avoiding sunlight has resulted in a suggested 80% of the European population and 50% of the global population being vitamin D deficient

We know that Vitamin D is one of the most important vitamins for optimal health with the majority of biological functions (such as regulation of the immune system and the conversion of calcium which is important for strong bones). Research has associated Vitamin D deficiency with a multitude of illnesses, such as Cancer, Dementia, Osteoporosis, Diabetes and Multiple Sclerosis, to name just a few.

We have previously reported on the work of Dr Michael Holick, who is leading the research on Vitamin D and frequently reports on not only the illnesses associated with deficiency, but the causes and effects. Not only are children at risk, but nursing mothers and the elderly, people who are confined indoors, even people who cover their bodies for social or religious reasons

Whilst Vitamin D supplements are readily available, research has shown that these are not as effective as UV exposure in the production of Vitamin D, let alone the cost involved.  As Nessi says “Direct sunlight exposure facilitates synthesis of vitamin D by the body itself, and there is evidence that this provides additional benefits which the supplements alone cannot.

In order for the body to synthesize vitamin D, direct sun exposure is needed. The recommended amount of exposure has been found to depend on a whole range of factors such as skin pigmentation, age, altitude, latitude, diet, clothing and an individual’s current vitamin D levels. Consequently, it is impossible to provide accurate general guidelines as to how much sun exposure is required to avoid vitamin D deficiency”

“It is proven that sun exposure is not only beneficial but essential for human beings. Still in much of the Western world, this fear of sunlight coupled with the long dark days of winter, and rainy summers without enough sun are keeping us from obtaining even the minimum sunlight necessary for our bodies to obtain the chemical benefits. Our sedentary lifestyles frequently keep us closer to the dim light of a bulb or that of a flickering computer screen than to the sun, and even when we do exercise we often choose to do this indoors in a gym or sports facility. It seems that it is high time we turn once more to worship the sun — source and sustainer of all life on Earth”

Now that Autumn is here, we need to ensure that we keep our levels of Vitamin D where they should be, whether we choose to get this from supplements or from a regular dose of UV light as part of a responsible tanning programme, it is clear that it is essential for our general health and wellbeing.

The Tanning Shop registration form asks specific questions based on the globally recognised Fitzpatrick scale in order to establish skin type and tanning history. This in turn enables store staff to assist clients in designing a tanning programme suitable for their tanning needs and preferences. With a great range of products and knowledgeable staff, The Tanning Shop is a great destination to boost your Vitamin D throughout the colder Autumn and Winter months!

Why not use our salon locator to find your local store and visit us today!