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SUNLIGHT STRENGTHENS THE BONES

The biopositive effects of artificial sunlight has on our organism do not just apply to young people. There are even reasons why older people, in particular, can benefit from regular visits to a tanning salon.

Osteoporosis: increasing numbers of elderly people are suffering from loss of bone calcium. The bones become porous and break easily. In old age, this may - after a femoral neck fracture for instance - result in the need for permanent care.

Osteoporosis is caused by a deficiency of calcium. Up until about the age of 30, calcium is stored in the bones and hardens them. However, it is also needed in other areas of the body. And if you don't get enough calcium through the food you eat, your body "steals" it from the bones over a period of years. As a result, osteoporosis sets in.

How can you prevent osteoporosis? With a calcium-rich diet - and regular sunbathing - because your body needs vitamin D, before it can actually process calcium at all. And because it is extremely rare for this mineral to occur in food, Mother Nature has come up with something quite ingenious. Vitamin D is the only vitamin that our body can produce itself. All it needs to do so is sunlight.

When exposed to UV-B, the cholesterol in the skin is transformed into provitamin D. Within 12 hours, your body heat turns this provitamin D into vitamin D.

However, from October to March, the sunlight in our latitudes contains hardly any UV-B at all. Most of it gets lost in the atmosphere. As a result, the body's own vitamin D production comes to a complete standstill during this period, notes Dr. Albrecht Falkenbach from the Gasteiner Heilstollen Sanatorium. The result: even if we eat a diet rich in calcium, our body is unable to process this valuable mineral.

This is where modern sunbeds lend a helping hand with their UV-B light component. Although, when applied correctly, the dosage is so low that it prevents you from getting sunburned, it is high enough to re-trigger the body's own vitamin D production. This way, you can do something for your tan - and strengthen your bones at the same time.
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