You may have read our previous blog warning about the dangers of skin cancer during yoga holidays in Europe, (if not it’s here) and while covering up is a must in the sun, we should also be mindful of the amount, or lack of, vitamin D we get.
Why is Vitamin D important?
Our body creates vitamin D when our skin is exposed to sunshine, without it we can become ill. Vitamin D deficiency is a major problem, especially in the UK where sun exposure is rather limited to around two months of the year. In the past, vitamin D deficiency was linked with rickets, but recently it’s become evident that a number of other conditions can manifest including muscle weakness and osteoporosis. Pregnant women are at risk of their babies being born with serious health conditions if they are vitamin D deficient.
Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency include tiredness and a general feeling of being unwell, muscle weakness and pain when bones are under pressure. Sometimes there are no symptoms at all, which means that serious health conditions such as rickets can develop without warning. Evidence also suggest that those who live furthest from the equator are at higher risk of developing muscular sclerosis, due to lack of sun exposure. Scotland has the highest rates of MS in the world with around 10,000 sufferers.
So while on a yoga holiday in Europe, be sure to cover up in the sun to prevent burning and skin cancer, but make sure you do have some exposure in the mornings and evenings. It is also wise to eat plenty of oily fish. If you are vegetarian or vegan, you are at a higher risk of vitamin D deficiency and so a vitamin D supplement may be beneficial, in particular D3.
Yoga holidays in Europe
We have some yoga holidays in Europe that offer plenty of sun, such as this retreat in a quiet beach town in Fuerteventura. The beach is a short walk away and surfing is available.
There are many other sunny yoga holidays on offer on our website, so you can top up your vitamin D and stay healthy. Remember that sun exposure is necessary for our health but too much can also be detrimental. For more information about health risks due to lack of Vitamin D (and right dosage) you can listen to the BBC Radio 4 Food programme (25min).
Next time we’ll be blogging about yoga retreats for first-timers.