Mornings mean a cup of warm coffee secured between our palms. They call for the sound of our alarm echoing loudly inside the room. And they are the smell of almost-burned pancake, salty sausage, and mushy eggs.
But, mornings will never be mornings without the blinding rays of the sun on our window sill.
The center of the solar system — the Sun
A yellow dwarf star, the sun is the most massive object in our solar system. It stands at the center. It pulls Mercury, Venus, the Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and the other members of the system together with its gravitational pull.
The sun is believed to have been formed 4.5 billion years ago. It accounts for 99.8 percent of the whole solar system’s mass. It has a radius of 695, 508 kilometers and is made up of 91 percent hydrogen and 8.9 percent helium.
The sun has six regions: the core, radiative zone, convective zone, photosphere, chromosphere, and the corona.
Because of its hot and energetic mix of gases and plasma, the center of our solar system is not suitable to hold life. Although it cannot support life on its surface, the sun is an integral part of our survival on Earth.
The sun’s heat and light allow life to perpetuate on Earth — warming the seas, stirring the atmosphere and generating weather patterns, giving energy to plants, and providing food and oxygen to living things.
Also, the yellow dwarf star that holds our solar system together is a source of vitamin D which is necessary to our health.
Vitamin D and What It Does To Your Body
Vitamin D is a group of fat-soluble steroids or secosteroids which was discovered in the 1920s. With the sun’s ultraviolet B (UVB) energy, 7-dehydrocholesterol which functions in the serum as a cholesterol precursor to vitamin D3. Vitamin D3 is then brought to the liver where it picks up additional molecules of hydrogen and oxygen to become 25-hydroxyvitamin D or 25(OH)D.
The new chemical is carried to different tissues including the kidneys where it gets its final pair of hydrogen and oxygen molecules, resulting in 1,25 dihydroxy vitamin D or calcitriol which is the hormonally active metabolite or the intermediate and product of metabolism of vitamin D.
Vitamin D increases the intestinal absorption of calcium in the blood, bones, and gut, and helps in the proper cell communication in the body. It is also essential in fighting infection for a stronger immune system, right muscle, and cardiovascular functions, respiratory system, and brain development.
Getting Vitamin D from the Sun
According to the California-based nonprofit organization Vitamin D Council, the skin of humans makes large amounts of the vitamin when the bare skin gets exposed to the sun when it is high in the sky.
The quantity of vitamin D your skin can produce is dependent on the amount of melanin in your skin. The higher the melanin, the less UVB enters the skin, leading to less production of vitamin D. On the one hand, the paler the skin, the easier the skin produces vitamin D.
Aside from skin color, the time of the year and day affect the production of vitamin D. When your shadow is comparably longer than your height, it suggests that less vitamin D is produced. Summer season gives more sun exposure than winter season as your shadow is longer for most of the day during winter, but much shorter during summer.
Sun exposure close to midday is the best time of the day to expose your skin to the sun’s rays. Sunlight enters the atmosphere at too much angle during the early and later parts of the day wherein the atmosphere blocks the UVB part of the rays.
Also, your location is a factor that affects the production of vitamin D. The further your area is from the equator, the wider the angle the sun hits the atmosphere. This then results to lesser UVB for vitamin D production especially during winter time.