I am so excited that spring is almost here! Finally we get to enjoy the warmth of the sun on our faces and a warm breeze as we go for walks and run errands. I love the sun! Soon I will be planning trips to the pool, the beach, the park, going biking and having BBQ’s out on the patio! I’ve always known that the sun makes me feel happy but did you know that the sun stimulates the production of serotonin (chemical in the brain that makes you feel happy) and melatonin (helps with sleep function). Naturally we are happier and sleep better when we spend time outdoors! Summer will be here sooner than we know, and when we want to start basking in the sun, we will have to start thinking about protecting our skin again from the damaging harmful UVA and UVB rays. Let’s take a closer look at vitamin D.
The sun provides us this very necessary vitamin that many say is the most important vitamin for us to have, vitamin D. Scientists have recently uncovered that 2,000 genes in the human body that are regulated by this precious vitamin. According to Michael F. Holick, Ph.D., MD., Director of the Vitamin D, Skin, and Bone Research Laboratory at the Boston University Medical Center and Author of The Vitamin D Solution, “Vitamin D affects cell death and proliferation, insulin production, and even the immune system.” He goes on to explain also that vitamin D is more like a ‘hormone’. “It is made in the skin as a result to sunlight”. By totally avoiding sun exposure and natural vitamin D and leaning toward a vitamin D deficient means your body will be working way below it’s potential.
Vitamin D is like calcium’s sidekick. Deficiency can show up in children as rickets, where the bones are weakened, bone tissue fails to mineralize causing soft or deformed bones. A few other illnesses linked to vitamin D deficiency are: osteoporosis (bones become fragile), depression (parathyroid hormone causing the symptom), seasonal affective disorder, hyperparathyroidism (blood condition), obesity (insufficient vitamin D holds back the production of the leptin hormone regulating body fat), osteomalacia (adult rickets), chronic backache (vitamin D influences bone density), hypertension, and others that have shown potential links are: cancers, chronic pain, diabetes, MS, and heart disease. (Vitamin D Deficiency Guide).
We need at least 1000 IU in order to combat these health problems. According to my Natropathic Doctor, Sarah Oulahen from Sow Health, we should be supplementing an additional 4,000 IU a day for our bodies to combat disease and maintain a strong immune system. Research from The University of Copenhagen have found that vitamin D is required to produce T-cells to detect and kill foreign pathogens which are necessary in order to fight off serious infections, noted by Richard Alleyne, Science Correspondent. Studies show that our bodies create about 20,000 IU of vitamin D by being exposed in a bathing suit on a hot summer day for a bout 15-20 minutes. Most sources point to 10-15 minutes of being ‘outside’ is a healthy amount of sun exposure.
Ultraviolet light has three wavelengths: UVA, UVB, and UVC. Of the three, UVA and UVB play a role with photoaging, burning, tanning, and have been identified as a human carcinogen. UVA rays penetrate deeper into the skin than UVB and causes more genetic damage to the keratinocytes in the basal layer of the epidermis meanwhile UVB can cause damage in the superficial epidermal layers. UBA damage results in tanning or burning.
Knowing that ultraviolet rays contribute to cancer, I believe we should be bright by balancing our sun exposure. Don’t avoid being active since that’s one of the best natural medicines! Enjoy life and be smart if you plan on being out for more than 10 or 15 minutes, than use a chemical free sunscreen to protect you.
There are many sunscreens on the market. Be aware of chemicals linked to cancer in chemical sunscreens and nanotechnology rapidly penetrate the skin and go directly into your bloodstream. There are no regulations requiring companies to share this with you on the labels. Click here for my article on Sunscreen and Harmful Nanotechnology.
The VERY best sun protector is simply ZINC, the mineral. Look for sunscreens in your health food store that are zinc based. Zinc oxide protects from UVA and UVB rays.There are just a few companies that offer zinc sunscreens today. Green Beaver, a Canadian natural body-care company has one, as well as an American company called Badger (who stopped using nano technology) and so does Skin Essence which is a local fair trade and truly organic skin care company that makes my favourite natural sunscreen called Tropical Tradition and it’s based on traditional recipes by the indigenous people of South America. They’ve combined nourishing and protecting ingredients like zinc oxide, shea butter, vitamin E and sesame seed. By clicking here you can read more on it’s ingredients.