Friday, March 19, 2010

Gamer Health, or "The Sunny D"

Hiss! Cringe! What is this foul thing that burns us?!

Why, it's the sun!

I have long avoided direct sunlight. Not just because it hurts my eyes (seriously, no vampire jokes this time, it does) but because I'm a redhead and don't want to catch skin cancer from that big mean ball of fire.

Lo and behold, I've been absent this week because I went to the doctor for lethargy et cetera, and found out Wednesday I have low Vitamin D.

A vitamin you get from the sun.

Without it you're susceptible to flimsier bones, muscle pain, diseases (ranging from colds to diabetes to cancer), fatigue, depression, and you're less pretty.

(No, I'm not joking about the pretty. Your skin and hair get all dull, you lose weight slower, and it can even lead to deformations in children.)

Since I'm the "I'm sleepy" girl of my clan, this news perked me up because the supplement should make me feel less like I'm walking around in a fog.

Also, since I stay in so much because my hobbies (like WoW) are indoor hobbies, I thought I'd mention this as something other gamers should watch out for.

If you never go outside, try to spend a few minutes a day in the sunlight without sunscreen (play with a pet or take a phone call outside). This site recommends 15 minutes a day twice a day (30 minutes altogether) for fair-skinned people like me and 40 minutes a day for darker-skinned folks.

You can also eat foods that are rich in (or fortified with) vitamin D:
  • Milk.
  • Some orange juice.
  • Salmon, mackerel, sardines.
  • Egg yolks.
  • Liver.
If you start feeling better (i.e. more energetic and happy) by doing those things, ask your doctor to check your D levels because you're probably low. They can prescribe a supplement (that isn't available over-the-counter because too much D can be just as bad as too little). A lot of winter depression is caused by getting less sunlight, so if you suffer from that you definitely want to ask about a supplement.



  1. Thank you so much for this article. My girlfriend has been suffering some of these symptoms lately and I have suspected for a few weeks that this may be the problem from reading around it. The reason being, she doesn't drink milk (not even tea or coffee). She also has very fair skin which burns easily and she doesn't want a tan as she feels prettier with her fairer skin. So for this reason she doesn't spend lengthy amounts of time in the sun.

    The issue now though, as a young man, how do you go about telling your girlfriend you think she either needs to see a doctor, drink milk, take supplements or get more sunlight? :S

  2. Yes, that horrible sphere of destruction in the sky actually does help us. I find it incredibly hard to wake up or get rid of a bad mood when the sun is absent.

    But because I'm a fair-skinned, blond haired, blue eyed boy, the sun is also an annoyance.

    The lack of melanin in my skin makes it so there is less melanin in my eyes. People with darker eye color have a double layer of melanin, making them less sensitive to light, whereas people with lighter eyes, like blue or green, have only a single layer. And Albinos don't have either layer.

    Hence all the "The light, it burns me!" jokes.

  3. Jiriki:

    "how do you go about telling your girlfriend you think she either needs to see a doctor, drink milk, take supplements or get more sunlight?"

    If she's tired all the time or depressed after the winter, you could suggest she might lack in Vitamin D (citing her lack of time in the sun), then tell her about your research. Bone and teeth health seem to be directly related to Vitamin D, so put those out as reasons why it's good to get her levels checked next time she goes to a doctor.

    Of course, you know her much better than I do, so just be honest with her in the most effective way you know how. Husband had to push me for a few months to go to the doctor because we were swamped with vet and dentist appointments since we moved. (Our kitten has a heart condition.)

    So just keep being supportive and interested in her well-being. That's the best thing you can do.


    Yeah, I got my dad's blue eyes. He and I both wince on bright days.

    Husband, who has dark eyes, agrees with me that rainy days are the best. Because husband is awesome.

  4. I was diagnosed with this same problem last year. My hair was actually falling out. I think I lost about half of it before I went to the doctor. They put me on a really strong supplement for a week and then told me to take the over-the-counter supplement every day. And, of course, to spend more time in the sun, but here in Michigan the sunlight is only strong enough to be effective during the summer months.

    It's something that anyone who is house-bound (for whatever reason) should be aware of, thank you for posting about it!


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