Friday, 23 March 2012
Sunshine Is Good for Your Health
We are now in springtime in the northern hemisphere, and over the next six months or so there is likely to be a lot of sunshine. One of the most constructive things you can do from a health point of view, is expose your body to the healing power of the sun.
The action of direct sunlight on the skin is the main provider of vitamin D because there are not many food sources of it. The only known food sources of vitamin D are cod liver oil, oily fish such as sardines, salmon, herring and mackerel. Eggs and milk contain only small amounts, although milk fortified with vitamin D can be purchased.
A synthetic version of vitamin D can be obtained if you take a multivitamin and mineral tablet daily, but it is only likely to provide you with 40% of your recommended daily requirement of a 1,000 IU (international units). However, in addition you could take a vitamin D supplement separately on its own to make up for the deficit.
A vitamin D deficiency can cause osteoporosis, rickets and schizophrenia. It is crucial in forming strong bones and teeth. A deficiency can also: exacerbate type 2 diabetes by impairing insulin production in the pancreas; and negatively affect calcium absorption by the body.
One of the world’s leading experts on sunshine and vitamin D, Dr Michael Holick, from studies carried out has concluded that a sufficiency of vitamin D in the body helps prevent prostate cancer, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, colon cancer, depression and schizophrenia.
Women who are deficient in vitamin D at the birth of a child, can put the child’s health at risk of developing such diseases as type1 diabetes early in life. Where this is a known problem, supplementation is recommended for the child from an early age.
Dr Holick recommends sensible sun exposure. If you live in the northern hemisphere and are of Caucasian origin, this may typically mean exposure to direct sunlight for 5 -10 minutes daily, 3 times or more weekly exposing head, neck, arms and legs to the sun. Persons of African origin, however, need about 10 times the above stated amount because of the skin pigmentation providing a natural resistance to the sun.
Only sunshine directly on the skin triggers the production of vitamin D. Therefore sunshine absorbed through glass does not count for this purpose. If, for example, you work in a greenhouse you would need to take in sunshine away from where you work in order to get your daily requirement.
The sunscreen industry have been emphasising the harmful effects of the sun for years in order to sell their products. The healing effects the sun’s rays have on the body never get mentioned in their literature. Consequently, some people apply a sunscreen before venturing out into the sun, which is a mistake as some products can block as much as 95% of the sun’s rays. It is much better to get your daily requirement of sunshine as outlined above first, and then apply a sunscreen for the duration of the time you are exposed.
Use the summer months to keep the vitamin D level in the body, which acts like a tank in this regard, at a high level. During the winter months when the sun isn’t shining, seriously consider taking a vitamin D supplement or cod liver oil capsules to avoid any deficiency.
If the pharmaceuticals could bottle sunshine, they would, then sing its praises and sell it at a hefty price per bottle. Because it is free resource, not many people point out its beneficial effects. Do not underestimate the healing power of the sun. !