Me, being a virtuous little worker bee, I try to keep typing while I hitch my chair a bit closer to the window in an attempt to soak up some rays. Turns out that's a bad idea. Who knew?
When the temperature is hovering around freezing, it's hard to go outside without wrapping self in layers and layers of clothing.
If the point of going outside is to soak up rays, this presents a problem. But it's even worse trying to get sunshine through glass.
It seems that's dangerous.
Unfair! I want to complain.
Here's the prob:
UVA = the bad stuff, the stuff you're supposed to put on sunscreen to
get away from.
UVB = the rays that cause skin to make vitamin D.
UVB rays are absorbed by plain ole glass.
UVA rays are transmitted just fine.
So sitting by the window soaking up rays can be a bad idea.
According to Dr. Mirkin, "since 1940 the greatest increase in melanomas has occurred in office workers, not in people who work outdoors. FDA researchers believe that low vitamin D levels may be responsible (Medical Hypothesis, January 2009)... Indoor office workers get up to nine times less UVB than people who spend more time outdoors.... So being indoors and exposing skin to the sun mostly through window glass reduces exposure to UVB that causes skin to make the vitamin D that prevents cancer, and increases relative exposure to UVA that destroys vitamin D in the skin and therefore increases cancer risk."
Well damn! A winter like this one, any sunny day that comes along has me glued to the window drinking in the sunshine without going outside and shivering me timbers off.
And even getting outdoors doesn't always help you get vitamin D at this time o' year. If you believe this study, above a certain latitude (52 degrees north) in winter, there "is not enough ultraviolet light of the appropriate wavelength for the body to make vitamin D on the skin." 52 degrees north translates roughly to cities such as Calgary or Birmingham. (No, not the one in Alabama.)
Put this one into the One More Thing to Worry About category. I was hoping I could find a study that proved using sun lamps let your body make vitamin D, but alas. So I'm turning to fish instead. Specifically herring. (Milk? Don't talk to me about milk. Okay, mostly because it makes me sick. But also, consider this: 3 ounces of herring would get you 1383 IU of vitamin D, while 8 ounces of fortified milk has 100 IU of vitamin D. Plus, herring is high in omega 3s. Take that, milk.)
Do you have any other ideas for getting sunshine/vitamin D/an early spring? Preferably ones that don't involve robbing a bank and hijacking a plane to Maui.
Photo credit: D'Arcy Norman
Well... unless it's a foolproof plan.
Non-Maui photos courtesy of substack.