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Sunshine exposure may boost health in older people

May 15, 2009 by  

Getting sunshine throughout life can improve healthNew research indicates that enjoying the sunshine as we age could help reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes.

Many studies have linked vitamin D, which the human body has the ability to synthesize in response to exposure to the sun, to promoting bone health, reducing cancer risk and even alleviating asthma symptoms.

However, a new report from researchers at the University of Warwick suggests vitamin D deficiency is significantly associated with metabolic syndrome, a combination of medical and metabolic disorders that increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Dr. Oscar Franco, the research team leader from the Warwick Medical School, says the elderly are at a particular risk of the deficiency because of lifestyle factors such as wearing clothing that tends to cover more of the body and participating in less outdoor activity.

"[As we get older] dermal production of vitamin D following a standard exposure to UVB light decreases," says Franco.

"[Therefore] we may need to spend more time outdoors to stimulate the same levels of vitamin D we had when we were younger," he adds.

Meanwhile, recent studies have pointed to a higher prevalence of vitamin D deficiency among Americans than previously thought, prompting experts to recommend boosting daily intake of the vitamin from the standard 200 IUD to as much as 1,000 IUD.ADNFCR-1961-ID-19173170-ADNFCR

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