Sunscreen helps in protecting your skin from harmful radiations of the sun. But are you aware of the fact that it could cause vitamin D deficiency, the new study says. It could also lead to muscle weakness, bone fractures. According to research published in the ‘Journal of the American Osteopathic Association’, nearly one billion people all over the world have a deficiency of vitamin D due to chronic disease and insufficient sun exposure due to the use of sunscreen.

Kim Pfotenhauer, assistant professor at Touro University and contributor to the study, said: “People rarely spend time outside and when they do go out they are typically wearing sunscreen, which reduces the body’s ability to produce vitamin D.” She further added, “While we want people to protect themselves against skin cancer, there are healthy, moderate levels of unprotected sun exposure that can be very helpful in boosting vitamin D.”

Exposure of skin to sunlight produces vitamin D. It plays a significant role in various body functions, cell growth modulation, neuromuscular and immune function and inflammation reduction. Chronic illnesses like Type 2 diabetes, kidney disease and Crohn’s disease may lead to the malabsorption of the vitamin and greatly inhibits the body’s ability to metabolize Vitamin D from food sources while low diet can also cause a deficiency.

The osteopathic association said, standing in a midday sun for five to 30 minutes twice a week could help to increase and maintain healthy vitamin D levels. It said it was “important to forgo sunscreen during these sessions because SPF 15 or greater decreases vitamin D3 production by 99 per cent.” A study was published in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association in which Dr. Pfotenhauer added, “You don’t need to do something extra by going to a sunbath at the beach to get the benefits. A simple walk with arms and legs exposed is enough for most people.”

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