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Tag: vitamin D

The Life-Giving Power of the Sun

On this planet, all life comes from the sun.

sunThe sun shines its rays down on plants and plants photosynthesize, using the sun’s energy for the growth of plant cells.

Animals and people eat the plants, absorbing the life-giving nourishment and energy stored in the plant’s cells.

People eat the animals as well, transferring the stored sun energy into energy the human body can use for fuel, growth, and higher-level functioning.

When exposed, human skin directly metabolizes the sun’s rays to manufacture Vitamin D, a key ingredient in health, immunity, and strong bones.

“Energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be changed from one form to another.”

Albert Einstein

Prenatal Vitamin D levels linked to Autism?

Research has shown that many autistic children are born in the month of March. Going backward, this would mean that their mothers were pregnant during the winter months when they might not have gotten enough sunshine on their skin, perhaps meaning that they were vitamin D deficient during the time in their pregnancy for the baby’s brain development.

I heard this at a recent natural health seminar and it made me stop to think. I don’t know if there has been any research on this, but it might be a reason to seek out regular sunshine during pregnancy. I was always looking for an excuse to go for a walk during my pregnancies anyway — maybe practicing for all that stroller-pushing that came later?

Has anyone else heard about this link?

Sunshine and Sunglasses

My friend Susan Mead, a Master Herbalist with a wonderful new book out, Take Back Your Body Using Time-Tested Health Tips and Uncommon Sense, reminded me about sunshine and vitamin D production being thwarted by sunglasses.

Susan writes: ” Thought you might want to know that most Vit D is absorbed through the eyelids; I believe that’s why most are short on it since we all wear sunglasses so much.  A hat not a problem, but any glasses will block that absorption.”

Good point, Susan. Besides blocking vitamin D absorption, sunglasses interfere with the body’s circadian rhythms, which depend on undiluted UV light hitting the retina to set our internal clocks. So, while you’re spending a few minutes outside getting your vitamin D, be sure to remove your sunglasses and tilt your eyelids up to the sun.

One of my favorite natural health instructors, Elaine Newkirk, encourages us to use these vitamin D moments to feel gratitude. Its a great idea as it has been proven that feeling grateful for things in your life, no matter how small, has an astounding effect on attitude and health. Too often I find myself focusing on the struggles and forgetting the celebrations, so I was grateful to be reminded to practice gratitude while I bask in the sun with my sunglasses off and my eyes closed.  🙂

Vitamin D: The wonder drug?

What can reduce rates of cancer, diabetes, and auto-immune diseases like multiple sclerosis? If you’ve been following the news lately, you might be giving a resounding cheer for Vitamin D.

Dr. Oz, Oprah’s favorite physician, sounds off in support of this vital nutrient, though he’s not the only one to be on the Vitamin D bandwagon lately. While I knew that vitamin D played a big role in multiple sclerosis by controlling inflammation, I had no idea of its cancer-protecting role. Here’s what Dr. Oz says about vitamin D and cancer:

It cuts your risk of breast and colon cancer.
Many cells love to multiply faster than rabbits in the arugula patch. But out-of-control cell growth can lead to cancer. Enter vitamin D. It keeps a lid on the rate that cells reproduce, and it turns on your DNA spell checker, called the P53 gene. This gene checks your DNA for typos and kills cells—like cancer cells—that have errors. Experts now believe this is why women who live in sunny climates, and thus have plenty of D (your body makes it when sunlight hits your skin), are less likely to develop breast cancer. D has also been linked to lower chances of developing ovarian and lung cancers and better odds of beating colon cancer. Recent research found that colon cancer patients with the highest D levels are the most likely to survive.

My favorite way to get vitamin D is to expose my skin to the sun (can you say “beach”?!). Sun worshippers like myself have been thwarting our body’s vitamin D production for decades since the sunscreen movement has done such a good job of convincing everyone to slather up at all times. Now, Dr. Oz tells us, we’re learning that while the sunscreen might be protecting us from melanomas it’s leaving us vulnerable for a host of other problems.

Living in a land-locked state keeps me off the sand much of the year, but I still try to get at least my arms and face exposed to the sun for at least 5 minutes at least 5 times/week, when possible. Luckily, the mile-high city where I live sees more than 300 days of brilliant sunshine each year, and even when the ground is covered with snow the sun can be shining brightly and warmly.

For those looking to supplement, be sure to choose D3 (cholecalciferol ), the active ingredient in vitamin D, and not the synthetic form of vitamin D sold more cheaply. Here are Dr. Oz’s vitamin D supplement recommendations:

Aim for 1,000 International Units (IU) daily; 1,200 IU if you’re over 60—though check your multivitamin, which probably has around 400 IU of D, so you don’t overdo. Limit your daily dose to a max of 2,000 IU.