A ray of sunshine... a gift from God above

Posted by Tandarin Nike Sunday, December 13, 2009 10:03 AM

For a few decades, exposing one's skin to the sun was seen as inviting skin cancer. But medical science has seen the light, and now recommends sunshine for good health.

Have you heard the concept that you can get Vitamin D from the sun?

Yes, it is true that humans can synthesize vitamin D3 in the skin, when exposed to ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation from the sun. According to the institute, “sunlight exposure provides most people with their entire vitamin D requirement.” There are actually few foods that contain vitamin D, naturally. Yet, we have so many foods, like milk, cereals, breads and orange juice that are fortified with vitamin D.

Then, why do people still have vitamin D deficiencies if vitamin D is so readily available in the form of sunlight? Well, think of all those people who live in latitudes around 40 degrees north or 40 degrees south, for example Boston, Portland, Seattle,…In these places, from November until March, there is insufficient UVB radiation available for the skin to synthesis enough into vitamin D. Imagine living even 10 degrees farther north of south, where a “vitamin D winter” extends from mid-October to mid-March. Could this be the reason people don’t receive enough vitamin D? What about that people living below 40 degrees north or above 40 degrees south? Why would they have vitamin D deficiencies?

One growing impact on the production of vitamin D in the body is the use of sunscreen. Research says, “the application of sunscreen with an SPF factor of 8 reduces production of vitamin D by 95%.” Wow! What a predicament we have since sunscreen helps prevent skin cancer! Well, it all comes down to the notion of moderation.

According to Dr. Michael Holick, from Boston University, sun exposure of 5-10 minutes three times a week, during the spring, summer and fall, during the mid-day from 11am to 2pm, on the face and arms, will provide enough vitamin D for the individual. This sun exposure will also allow for storage of the excess vitamin D during the winter, when the UVB rays will not reach some areas. This is also recommended by the Linus Pauling Institute, which also advises healthy adults to take a daily multivitamin supplement containing vitamin D.

Vitamin D is important in many ways. Vitamin D helps maintain bone density, healthy bone growth and helps maintain the normal functioning of the nervous system. It is crucially important in aiding the body’s absorption of calcium. Without sufficient vitamin D, calcium supplements are almost useless. Vitamin D insufficiency is a contributing factor of osteoporosis, as calcium absorption cannot be maximized. It has also been found that having a higher intake of vitamin D can help lower certain cancer risks, such as breast, prostate and colorectal cancer.

Vitamin D can also play a role in preventing a more severe case of the seasonal flu. In addition sufficient levels of vitamin D are known to help prevent high blood pressure, kidney disease, liver disease, multiple sclerosis and more.

Studies have shown that as many as 60% of us are deficient in vitamin D. Some common reasons for vitamin D deficiency are being overweight (vitamin D is fat soluble, it can be taken into fat cells and stored, thus making it potentially less available in our body's metabolism), being dark skinned (it takes more sunlight for your body to absorb the vitamin D) or simply due to your geographic area (you simply are not exposed to as much sun).

Light skinned individuals require 10 - 15 minutes of sunlight 2-3 times per week when the shadow you cast is shorter than you. In other words, the sun is high in the sky. Dark skinned individuals require one hour.

Fish such as salmon, shrimp and cod are an excellent to very good sources of vitamin D. If you are not likely to eat the amount of fish required to maintain a good vitamin D level, you may supplement with cod liver oil.

Eggs are another good source of vitamin D.

The only way to really know your vitamin D levels is to be tested. Your doctor can then interpret your vitamin D level and recommend dietary changes or supplements if necessary.

Here is a good article on the breast cancer/Vitamin D connection...

There's a paradigm shift going on in medicine as new research reveals a far greater role for vitamin D. Vitamin D is not just for kids—or the prevention of rickets. Optimal levels of Vitamin D (40–80 ng/ml) enhance the creation and functioning of healthy cells throughout the body.

In addition to protecting the bones and boosting the immune system, studies show that Vitamin D helps prevent certain cancers, including breast, ovarian, prostate and colorectal. Exciting new research shows that, in the United States alone, thousands of new cases of breast cancer could be prevented every year if more women had optimal levels of vitamin D.

A study conducted by Cedric Garland and other prominent vitamin D researchers determined that women with vitamin D levels above 52 ng/ml have half the risk of developing breast cancer as those with 13 ng/ml!

A simple blood test is all that's needed to find out your vitamin D level. Five years ago, a range of 20–100 ng/ml was considered normal. Just recently, this range was raised to 32–100 ng/ml. Make sure to ask your doctor what your actual vitamin D level is. Too often women are told that their levels are normal, which is not the same as optimal.

If you're deficient, the best way to boost your vitamin D quickly is to supplement with vitamin D3. Initially, you may need to take 5,000 IUs per day. After establishing a healthy level, supplementing with 1,000 to 2,000 IUs per day will suffice. It's hard to get all you need from food alone. Some healthy fish provides 300 to 700 IUs, but milk only provides 100 IUs per glass.

Lets get out in the open some times. Thrice a week 15-20 minutes walks along with supplements is a good bet to ward off any Vitamin D deficiency.

Here's wishing all of you a good sunny walk... stock up on your Vitamin D...

0 Response to "A ray of sunshine... a gift from God above"

Post a Comment