Tuesday, September 20, 2016

You Know Why You Look Healthier with a Little Tan? Because You Are!

     Over the last several decades, well meaning dermatologists and a not so always well meaning, 24 hour media have conspired to create such a scare that some people run in terror to their skin doctor if a ray of sunshine touches one square inch of "unprotected" skin.

Kids can't go outside and play without SPF 100 suncreeen, sunglasses, broad brimmed hats and long sleeve shirts and pants made of special sun proof materials.  If anyone goes to the beach, they spend the first 30 minutes there slathering themselves into a ghostly apparition.

     I know this is a little bit of an exaggeration, but not much.  Everybody knows kids don't go outside and play anymore!

     If you ask my family, they might tell you that I'm a little bit of a contrarian.  If everybody says, "It's so!", my internal alarms start going off.  Doesn't mean that popular ideas and trends are always wrong or bad, but always makes me examine a little closer.  I've never bought into this idea that the sun was bad for you.  I admit I come from a particular worldview.  I believe in God, the Creator of heaven and earth, and though I'm not sure exactly how He did it, I believe He is The Source of all.

  That said, it never made sense to me that the all knowing creator of the universe would put that huge ball of fire up there if it was going to destroy us. Of course, that is also based in my belief that He is a loving God who desires the best for his creation, but that's another subject altogether.  (Note to self:  Rule number 1 of blogging popularity is don't get into politics or religion.)

     Not so surprisingly, it seems the science is lining up with my worldview.

 "It actually always was in line with my worldview.", he said with a grin.  That great big ball of fire is actually the best cure for a huge epidemic plaguing much of our modern world.  What is the plague of which I speak; the massive epidemic which threatens the health and even life of so many?

 The plague which you are likely suffering from and don't even realize it is vitamin D deficiency.

     Growing up we all heard Mom and Dad telling us to drink our milk to get our vitamin D, so we could have strong bones and teeth.  However, we now know that vitamin D is vital to much more about our health than bones and teeth, we also know that though milk and other fortified foods are helpful, they are probably the least effective way to get your vitamin D.

      As you have already heard me discuss, the best source is, and always has been the sun.

     Before we get into how to get optimal levels of vitamin D and even what optimal levels are, let's look at both the benefits of maintaining proper levels as well as the negatives associated with being deficient in vitamin D.

     Vitamin D has been shown in studies to aid in the prevention, treatment or cure of the following:

  • Cancer
  • Osteoporosis
  • Rickets
  • Helps reduce visceral fat
  • Strong bones
  • Healthy muscles
  • Brain health
  • Depression
  • Type 1 and 2 Diabetes
  • Gene expression
  • Heart disease and stroke
  • Crohn's disease
  • Alzheimer's disease and dementia
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • PMS (Kids, if you don't know what that is, ask your Mother, unless of course...well, nevermind.)
  • Sleep disorders
     I could go on, but I think you get the idea.  Vitamin D is much more important to your health than you probably realized.  I know I was surprised about the extent and importance of vitamin D to our health.

      Consider the following quote concerning vitamin D from Michael F. Holick, Ph.D., M.D., considered by many to be the leading expert on vitamin D and the recipient of The Linus Pauling Institute prize in health research: 

"...we suffer from a serious shortfall in this vitamin that threatens our livelihood and longevity.  I have been traveling around the world not only lecturing about vitamin D but also hearing from physicians how common vitamin D deficiency is.  It's not only the most common nutritional deficiency in the world, but it's also the most common medical condition, affecting at least one billion people."
     Now that I have made the case for how much you and I need to make sure our vitamin D levels are optimal.  What is optimal and how do you know what your levels are?

     A blood test is the best way to determine what is your level of vitamin D.  However, it is very important that you be tested for the circulating form of vitamin D and not the activated vitamin D in your blood.  The test you want to ask for is a 25-hydroxyvitamin D test, also called a 25(OH) D test.  Make sure that you are very specific about this because some doctors will order the wrong test.


     Ok.  I hope you are convinced of the importance of vitamin D by now!  Let's look at how you can make sure to keep your levels in that optimal range.

  1.   Sensible sun exposure is the best way to make sure you are getting your D. 
                 10-15 minutes of sun exposure
                 Between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.
                Without sunscreen
                 40% of skin surface exposed
                 Cover face if concerned about wrinkles

      2.   Daily vitamin D supplementation.

                  1000-2000 IU of vitamin D per day.
                  This is in addition to whatever vitamin D is in your multivitamin and any fortified foods
                   you may consume.

     There is a lot more information about vitamin D than I can cover in this "short" blog, and much of the information I shared came from an amazing book entitled, The Vitamin D Solution: A 3-Step Strategy to Cure Our Most Common Health Problems.  I cannot recommend this book more highly for anyone wanting to know more about this subject.  (Clicking the link above to purchase the book will help contribute to my income and is appreciated, but buy the book anywhere you like.  Just get it.)

     I will be contributing more to this subject in later posts, so stay tuned.

     If you reached this point in my blog, I would just like to say "Thank You!".  I don't take you for granted, and it is my wish that you have found this information helpful.  Please take action on this subject.  It can really make a difference in your health.

In happiness and health!   Sam

Disclaimer:  The information presented is offered only as something to consider in your quest for health and well-being.  Always consult your healthcare provider before making any lifestyle changes.


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