Sensible Sun Exposure
The health benefits of a sunny day!
There is no getting around the fact that sunlight is hard on your skin. For years now we have been repeatedly warned about the sun’s harmful effects, the result being that nearly everyone avoids sunrays through sun block, sunglasses, wide brimmed hats and sun wear.
And yet more current news reports the widespread benefits of Vitamin D and this nation’s double-decade of sun avoiding frenzy. The sun benefits us in a numerous ways. Primarily, we receive vital nutrients from the sun. Our bodies manufacture Vitamin D when the sun’s ultraviolent B (UVB) rays interact with our skin. Vitamin D is known to regulate calcium levels and absorption, and is an essential component for healthy bones and teeth. It plays a vital role in maintaining healthy immune and nervous function, insulin/blood sugar regulation and various endocrine and digestive functions.
With the astounding amount of research that has been done on Vitamin D and the importance of optimal levels at all ages and including pregnancy, it would seem that the use of the sun and vitamin supplementation should be at the top of our priority list.
Fear regarding sun exposure, combined with the fact that people work mostly indoors, has contributed to a silent epidemic of Vitamin D deficiency. Researchers estimate that 72 percent of Americans are deficient in Vitamin D. It is also estimated that if Americans were able to get enough sunshine, the number of cancers diagnosed would drop by 200,000 and the annual number of cancer deaths would drop by as much as 63,000. A new study looked at data from 177-plus countries examining blood levels of Vitamin D3, the measurements of sunshine, breast cancer and colon cancer rates. The research revealed that sun exposure could prevent as many as 250,000 cases of colorectal cancer and 350,000 cases of breast cancer annually around the world. With new evidence of Vitamin D receptors in all body tissues, experts advise having a balance between Vitamin D from sun exposure and Vitamin D from supplements.
There are no simple guidelines that will tell you how much sun you should have, as this is dependent on the type of skin you have. You can also not solely rely on Vitamin D supplements to provide necessary Vitamin D in the same way the body was designed to produce it—by getting it directly from sunlight. The trick is limited exposure!
It is best to absorb the early morning sun, leaving your sunglasses off if you can. Ten to 20 minutes of morning sunshine on your head, arms, neck and eyes can do a world of good for your mood, Vitamin D levels and many other vital bodily functions. Avoid sun burning at all times, and quickly apply aloe if the skin turns pink. If protective clothes are impossible, use a healthy sunscreen, preferably without PABA, cinoxate, oxybenzone, avobenzone, phenylbenzimidazole and other chemical compounds.
The Benefits of Sensible Sun Exposure and Optimizing Vitamin D:
- Reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes: studies suggest that Vitamin D, along with calcium, may help reduce risk.
- Prevent high blood pressure: Vitamin D may actually help prevent high blood pressure.
- Cancer risk reduction: There are some indications that Vitamin D could actually aid in reducing the risk of different cancers. And some cancers are actually encouraged by a lack of Vitamin D.
- Increase chance of cancer survival: If you do have cancer, there is some evidence that the presence of Vitamin D can help increase the chances of survival, due the possibility that Vitamin D can actually shrink some cancer cells.
- Prevent muscle pain: Recent studies point to the idea that sensible sun exposure might aid in reducing and preventing some muscle pain.
- Reduce risk of rheumatoid arthritis: Those who have sufficient Vitamin D intake could possibly reduce the chance of developing rheumatoid arthritis.
- Prevent flu: Vitamin D could help prevent the flu and reduce the duration of the flu.
- Boost the immune system: Vitamin D is essential to the immune system.
- Lower cholesterol: Sunlight has shown to help lower cholesterol naturally.
- Lower resting pulse rate of the heart: Studies suggest that sunlight can help lower pulse rate, improving cardiovascular health.
- Add resistance power to skin: Limited sun can help your skin build up resistance to eczema, acne and psoriasis.
- Increase metabolism: Sensible sun exposure can help boost your metabolism, increasing the rate at which you burn calories.
- Improve digestion: Improving digestion and reducing gut problems have occurred with proper sun exposure.
- Stronger skeleton: As the Vitamin D produced from sun exposure is absorbed, it can help strengthen bones in the skeleton.
- Fight depression and SAD: There is evidence that sunlight is a natural way to improve your mood.
- Better relationships: More sunlight can help your relationships because it offers a mood enhancement. Adapted from Dr. Mercola.
Take a little advantage of some summer sunshine and your daily Vitamin D supplement! Enjoy!