20 MINUTES IS ALL YOU NEED…
“Sunrise. Sunburn. Sunset. Repeat.” This could be the theme song for my youth. My family would spend three months each Summer at the beach. Our days started early running at the water’s edge and we’d hear my mother calling us in at dinner time. It was amazing. Now, having said that, I must also tell you that the result of these fun/sun-filled days is that I have had maybe a couple dozen GALLONS of acid dabbed on my skin to remove the accrued damage I managed to rack up with this routine! We weren’t quite as saavy about the whole “sunscreen” thing back in the day. At this point, I think we all know that too much sun is bad for our skin/health. But, did you know that too little sun exposure can cause some serious health issues? What??!!!
Vitamin D deficiency is a global health problem. With all the medical advances of the century, vitamin D deficiency is still epidemic. Over a billion people worldwide are vitamin D deficient or insufficient. Yet, no international health organization or governmental body has declared a health emergency to warn the public about the urgent need of achieving sufficient vitamin D blood levels.
Vitamin D, also described as “the Sun Vitamin” is a steroid with hormone like activity. It regulates the functions of over 200 genes and is essential for growth and development. There are two forms of vitamin D. Vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) and vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol). Vitamin D status depends on the production of vitamin D 3 in the skin under the influence of ultraviolet radiation from sun and vitamin D intake through diet or vitamin D supplements. Usually 50 to 90% of vitamin D is produced by sunshine exposure of skin and the remainder comes from the diet. Natural diet, most human consume, contain little vitamin D. Traditionally the human vitamin D system begins in the skin, not in the mouth. However, important sources of vitamin D are egg yolk, fatty fish, fortified dairy products and beef liver.
Vitamin D3 deficiency can result in obesity, diabetes, hypertension, depression, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, osteoporosis and neuro-degenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s disease. Vitamin D deficiency may even contribute to the development of cancers, especially breast, prostate, and colon cancers. Current research indicates vitamin D deficiency plays a role in causing seventeen varieties of different cancers as well as heart disease, stroke, autoimmune diseases, birth defects, and periodontal disease. Vitamin D3 is believed to play a role in controlling the immune system (possibly reducing one’s risk of cancers and autoimmune diseases), increasing neuromuscular function and improving mood, protecting the brain against toxic chemicals, and potentially reducing pain.
This article, in full length can be found at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3068797/.
As you probably know by now, I’ve recently completed a rather lengthly Nutrition and Health study at Cornell University. One thing that I’ve heard again and again is that we must be our own advocates when it comes to our health. For the past two years, I’ve made it a point to have an extensive blood panel done by my physician so that I am aware of what these vital need to be and exactly where I am in the big picture. I feel it’s mandatory to know so that I can remain active and healthy moving forward. I am also aware that these types of blood panels are pricey….if this is an issue, please look into Health Fairs, etc. for less expensive options…..BUT, get it done as soon as you can.
Keep learning my friends…..knowledge is POWER! 20 minutes per day is the suggested amount of sun exposure. This is without sunscreen….just tilt that beautiful face to the sun and soak it in…….or, eat outside at your favorite restaurant…..that counts, right?!