Medical Moment: Daylight saving and bone health

Published: Nov. 14, 2022 at 6:46 PM EST
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(WNDU) - Once again, we have turned our clocks back for daylight saving time.

And while most of us get some extra sleep, there could be negative consequences on our bones!

The switch from daylight saving time to standard time doesn’t just mean an extra hour of sleep.

“What you’re looking at is a change in the daylight hours and when you might be exposed to sunlight,” explained Caitlin Nicholson, MD.

Less sunlight during the winter months is associated with low vitamin D levels. Bones need calcium and calcium needs vitamin D to keep bones strong. Sunshine is one of the best ways to get vitamin D.

“So, in those shorter days, you’re at risk for not having enough vitamin D to create healthy, strong bone tissue,” Dr. Nicholson explained.

Low vitamin D levels could lead to poor bone health and diagnosis of Osteopenia and Osteoporosis in adults or rickets it kids. So, what can you do to protect your bones, even in less sunlight?

“Getting regular exercise, especially weight-bearing exercise, can help promote good bones or healthy bones,” Dr. Nicholson continued.

You can also get vitamin D from supplements or food sources like salmon, trout, whitefish, tuna, mushrooms, cheese, eggs, and milk. And stopping habits that are bad for your bones like smoking. Also, limit alcohol to one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men.

50 percent of the world’s population suffers from low vitamin D levels.

If you’re worried about bone health, talk with your doctor about treatment options!