Why Sunshine is Actually Good For You

Ok, so you’ve read my blog post about butter and now I hope you are not afraid of slathering some of that rich yellow grass-fed yumminess on your broccoli or almond blueberry muffin (or in your coffee!) . But what about sunshine?

Like butter, I have been hiding from sunshine, quite literally, for the past three decades. Remember that as a species, we have evolved with the sun. If you are light skinned with light eyes, as your ancestors moved northward, your intelligent body devised a way to let more sunshine in, in order to help the creation of Vitamin D – that crucial hormone and protector of the immune system.  If you are dark skinned or dark eyed, you may be at increased risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes and some cancers as it is harder for your body to create Vitamin D under the skin.

In this case, supplementation of Vitamin D3 combined with vitamin K2 in doses of 5L to 10 L international units may be required for optimal health.

Getting a nice dose of sunmade vitamin D is not something to be afraid of, and in fact it is the most bio-available way to get and store this miracle vitamin.

My bet is that you are vitamin D deficient, as most people in the US now are. We sit inside, in front of  our computers most of the day, putting on sunscreen when we do go out. We worry about skin cancer and ageing and so we slather on “full spectrum” sunscreen.

You have probably heard of UVA and UVB rays from the sun? These are ultra violet rays that have two different lengths.  UVA rays can hit the ground from almost any angles of the sun.  UVB rays are short and can only hit the ground when the sun is at an angle, like before 11 am and after 3 pm, or thereabouts. UVB ray create Vitamin D in your skin, but UVA rays do not.

The UVB rays are instrumental for manufacturing vitamin D in your skin and can only reach beyond the atmosphere at low angles – about when your shadow is as tall as you are. As the sun rises higher the rays don’t reach far enough, so the benefits of vitamin D manufacturing can only take place when the UVB is safely caught in the mornings or late afternoon.

As we have devolved into a sunshine fearful population, so have rates of breast, colon and other cancers increased, as well as diseases and dysfunctions related to a suppressed immune system.

In a recently published study of thirty thousand Swedish women over 20 years, all-cause mortality rates increased  significantly the LESS  sunshine exposure the women got. See the study here.

Vitamin D acts as a hormone and protects us against a variety of illnesses like many forms of cancer, influenza, osteoporosis, asthma, autoimmune diseases, heart disease and thyroid diseases.

If you’re interested in a wonderful lecture by the charming Irishman Ivor Cummins on Vitamin D (The Crucial Story of Vitamin D and Human Health), watch it here

Get your sunshine, early to mid-morning and late afternoon and feel good about doing it.  I also recommend that you check your vitamin D levels at your annual physical (make sure your doctor is including it in your blood work).

Interested in working together to improve your health, get your body in shape and feel good even after menopause?