Monday, January 16, 2012

Maat E's Mental Health Message

Spend sometime in the sun!

Our minds, bodies and spirits need sunshine. Many of us are unaware of the importance of the sun and its ability to generate vitamin D, which in turn helps the body with absorption of calcium among other things. Fish, eggs and dairy also provide vitamin D which may be important during the colder months when we tend to get less sun, but are not an option for some vegetarians. Traditionally, vitamin D deficiency is linked to rickets, a disease leading to soft bones and skeletal deformities. Recent research shows that vitamin D deficiency may also have links to higher risk for cognitive impairment in adults and other health problems including heart disease, asthma in children and cancer. The symptoms can be subtle, yet bone pain and muscle weakness are signs of a potential problem. For people with darker skin the pigment melanin reduces the skin's ability to absorb sunlight increasing the chance of D deficiency. Prevention is of course the best way to avoid deficiency and generally, spending 10 minutes in the sun will activate the body's ability to generate vitamin D. To test for deficiency a visit to the doctor and a special request to check for vitamin deficiency is needed. Do your homework and learn more about the sources of vitamin D.

Peace, Ma'at E. L. Lewis

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