Mothers these days don't allow their kids to move outside their homes without sunscreens. But a new research advancing from Touro University California in the US claims that usage of sunscreens might lead to a deficiency of Vitamin D resulting in muscle weakness and bone fractures.
The study that was published in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association found that nearly 1 billion people worldwide may have deficient or insufficient levels of vitamin D due to chronic disease and inadequate sun exposure related to sunscreen use.
Kim Pfotenhauer, Assistant Professor at Touro University in California said, "People are spending less time outside and, when they do go out, they're typically wearing sunscreen, which essentially nullifies the body's ability to produce Vitamin D".
"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", Pfotenhauer added.
In addition, the study also showed that chronic diseases like Type 2 Diabetes and those related to malabsorption, including kidney disease, Crohn's and celiac disease greatly inhibit the body's ability to metabolise Vitamin D from food sources.
Considered a hormone rather than a vitamin, Vitamin D is produced when skin is exposed to sunlight. Vitamin D plays a vital role in the body's functions, including cell growth modulation, neuromuscular and immune function and inflammation reduction.
Spending 5-30 minutes in midday sun twice per week can help in maintaining healthy vitamin D levels, researchers said.
"You do not need to go sunbathing at the beach to get the benefits. A simple walk with arms and legs exposed is enough for most people", Pfotenhauer said.
(With inputs from PTI)