Could there be better news in our cash-strapped economy than to learn that one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself is absolutely free, feels great, and as an added bonus, gives you one of the best mental lifts in the world?
If it’s been years since you’ve appreciated (and enjoyed!) the healing rays of the sun, it’s time you got reacquainted.
More and more published research shows that the sun is one of our best friends in fighting chronic disease, warding off colds and viruses, and even boosting brainpower.
Have you noticed more than ever before, you hear of adults and children being vitamin D deficient? This is because we slap on the sunscreen before we leave the house, scared that if we don’t we will get skin cancer but we need the sunscreen on in the middle of the day or after 10 am to about 2.30pm when the sun rays are very strong.
With the help of the sun, we synthesize vitamin D in our skin, which is then used by every organ system in the body. In fact, adequate levels of vitamin D can even extend our lifespan. It has been shown that vitamin D lengthens our cells’ lifespan-determining telomeres. Shorter telomeres are a marker of ageing and the onset of degenerative disease.
If you are one of the tens of millions of people who are deficient in vitamin D — and at a higher risk of disease and mortality — then make it a point to get some sensible exposure to the sun.
Why you need to catch some healthy rays
Have you ever noticed how you feel happier when you have a chance to sit or walk in the warm sun? Doesn’t just going outside on a sunny day calm your nerves and lift your spirits?
In contrast, consider what happens and how you feel during the cold and dreary winter months. Many of us experience darker moods. We are more likely to become sick with colds and flu. We often gain weight and crave carbohydrates.
Then, come spring and summer, these symptoms magically disappear without treatment.
Well, there is a reason for this.
Your body needs sunlight just like it needs nutrients. In many ways, your physiology is as closely linked to the sun as that of plants. Plants use sunlight to photosynthesize chlorophyll. Through a comparable process, your body uses sunlight to photosynthesize vitamin D.
Decades of scientific research prove the importance of vitamin D. In addition to the noticeable lift it gives your mood, it also helps lower blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar; improves your immunity; regulates your weight; increases muscle strength; normalizes sleep cycles, and boosts brain function. It has also been shown to prevent many chronic diseases, including the three biggest killers of our generation — heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
On the other side of the coin, a deficiency of vitamin D is clearly associated with increased risk of a long list of health conditions, including everything from Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and autism to bone and muscle pain, behavioral disorders, depression, gluten intolerance, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, infertility, and tooth decay… just to name a few.
And here’s why this should matter to you
It is estimated that more than 90% of the population is deficient in this vital nutrient for at least part of the year. That means there is a good chance that YOU are deficient, putting your health at risk, including potentially doubling your risk of cancer.
There are several risk factors for vitamin D deficiency. The most obvious is your lifestyle and the amount of sunlight you are exposed to. If you work indoors, spend most of your time indoors, and get very little sunlight on your skin, you are almost certainly deficient.
Three to five days per week, you should aim for at least 15 to 20 minutes in the sunlight (with as much of your skin exposed as possible).
D – a molecule that is vitally essential to almost every aspect of your biochemistry and physiology.
Likewise, if you usually wear sunscreen when you are exposed to the sun, you are likely to be deficient. A sunscreen with an SPF of 8 reduces vitamin D production by 95%!
Other risk factors for vitamin D deficiency include your age (as you age, you need more sun to produce vitamin D), your skin type (darker skin types need more sun to produce vitamin D), and even your weight (vitamin D becomes trapped in body fat and cannot exert its effects).
In any case, the only way to really know if you are deficient is to have your blood tested for levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D, also called 25(OH)D.
Most people should supplement with vitamin D in the late autumn, winter, and early spring.
You should also consider supplementing year round if you have darkly pigmented skin, are over 65, or are overweight, or if you just can’t bring yourself to go into the sun without sunscreen.
We are not saying not to use sunscreen but leave it off for 15-20 minutes early morning or late afternoon.
We live in a country that usually has plenty of sun and it is a shame we are afraid to enjoy it.
Information in this article is from ‘Natural Health Dossier’ Published by Fourth Avenue Health Group
If you would like more information: Vitamin D Prescription: The Healing Power of the Sun & How It Can SaveYour Life – by Dr Eric Madrid
Here’s to your good health!