Vitamin D is an essential part of the diet; its benefits include helping the body absorb bone-strengthening calcium, fighting bacteria, and reducing heart disease risk. But that doesn’t mean you should acquire mass quantities of the super nutrient from the sun, or worse, tanning beds.
New research out of Harvard Medical School suggests that it's possible to get hooked on soaking up UV rays. For six weeks, researchers exposed mice to an amount of UVB radiation that was similar to 20 minutes of midday Florida sunshine in humans. After one week, the rodents' endorphins increased and stayed elevated throughout the course of the study, while the endorphin levels in a control group stayed about the same. Also, the UV-treated mice had higher pain thresholds and after receiving an opioid blocker, experienced withdrawal symptoms, much like an opioid drug user would want their fix.
Continuous exposure to harmful UV rays may cause skin cancer, the most common form of cancer in the U.S., according to the CDC, with more than 61,000 people diagnosed in 2010. Luckily, there are ways to get the recommended daily intake of Vitamin D (600 IU) and get the summer glow you’re looking for without doing any harm. Here are five ways to limit UV exposure while staying healthy and bronzed for the beach.