How winter sunlight affects our health – NBC Boston

As New England moves into late fall and prepares for the arrival of winter, the days get shorter and the sun appears lower in the sky. This change in the angle of the sun has a significant impact on the ability of people living in the northern highlands to produce vitamin D.

Boston’s latitude, combined with the northern hemisphere’s tilt on the Earth’s axis away from the sun during the winter, makes it more difficult to access sunlight. Anywhere south of Route 37th Northern latitudes receive enough sunlight to produce vitamin D even in winter. However, Boston’s latitude is 42 degrees north, which is well north of the 37th parallel. If you look at the sky, the sun only rises 25 degrees above the horizon in December. In contrast, in summer the sun is at a 70 degree angle from the horizon. Therefore, from November to February, there is no direct sunlight, so vitamin D absorption is not promoted.

Vitamin D is essential for a variety of body processes, and there are two important reasons to maintain adequate levels during the winter: supporting your immune system and affecting brain function related to mental health. In particular, people who experience seasonal affective disorder (SAD) or seasonal depression often have low vitamin D levels.

To combat this deficiency during the winter months, people in areas with limited sunlight can consider alternative sources of vitamin D, such as dietary supplements and vitamin D-rich foods, and may be advised by health professionals to You can maintain optimal vitamin D levels by considering vitamin D supplements, if recommended. .

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