Summer is a time in our southern heat to make sure you are adequately absorbing vital vitamins. With added degrees of heat exhaustion, profuse sweat, and a need for increased energy, we expel so much that needs replacing! Food is the ideal method for vitamin intake; however, if you struggle, there is no shame in supplements.
Damaging UV rays during the summer months can cause several issues with our skin, namely burns. Vitamin A is the name of a group of fat-soluble retinoids, primarily retinol and retinyl esters. Vitamin A is involved in immune function, cellular communication, growth and development, and male and female reproduction (National Institute of Health). Vitamin A is a powerhouse for cell regrowth and skin healing properties. Foods to look for include fish, liver, eggs, and dairy products.
Including Vitamin C in your year round health routine is ideal but is definitely needed during the summer months. Its powerful antioxidants assist your body in immune health during high allergy time frames. Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is known to protect skin from free radicals (air pollution and damaging UV from the sun). Additionally, Vitamin C is vital for collagen synthesis, connective tissue, as well as bone and teeth health. Summer foods to look for include oranges (citrus fruits), strawberries, and tomatoes!
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble nutrient found in many foods. In the body, it acts as an antioxidant, helping to protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals. In a study conducted at Mount Sinai Hospital, a condition known as Photodermatitis was researched with the addition of vitamin C and E. This condition involves an allergic type reaction to the UV rays of the sun. An 8-day clinical study comparing treatment with vitamins C and E to placebo found that people who took the vitamins became significantly less sensitive to the sun. Another clinical study, lasting for 50 days, also showed a protective effect of the vitamin C and E combination.
Vitamin D is produced in our body in response to sunlight! Vitamin D’s primary responsibility is to aid in the absorption of Calcium. Vitamin D deficiencies can result in an impact in our mood, skin, and our immunity. If you find yourself low on this vitamin even with time outside, it would be beneficial to utilize a supplement in effort to protect your skin! If you choose to use sunshine as your source, be sure to utilize a sunscreen with SPF to protect your skin from damaging UV rays.
The LSU AgCenter and the LSU College of Agriculture