Have you heard that it’s best to stay out of the sun? That tanning is dangerous and that you’ll get skin cancer if you don’t wear sunscreen?
And why am I talking about tanning in an article about Vitamin D anyway?
Well, if you didn’t know, despite all the dire warnings about sun exposure, all the advice about avoiding mid-day sun and the outcry you’re hearing to lather up in copious amount of sun block, your best way to get the vitamin D you need is to expose about half of your body daily to a bit of that mid-day sunshine. When you coat your body with sun block or sun screen, you diminish the vitamin D levels you could be achieving from getting a bit tanned.
I’m not at all suggesting you go burn yourself in the sun, and if you have pale skin, you want to start out really, REALLY slow, perhaps as little as just a few minutes a day at first. As you get a little sun exposure, your body will produce the pigmentation that causes tanning, which is it’s defense against the harmful rays in sunlight. This comes from your body’s melanocyte cells. As you get increasingly tanned, you can stay in the sun longer. If you’re ancestry is more deeply pigmented, you can possibly go a full 30 minutes relatively early on.
The main thing you do want to avoid is getting burned…don’t do that ever if possible.
It’s the sun’s UVB-rays you’re wanting to absorb onto your unexposed skin as they are responsible for making your body produce vitamin D. I think it goes without saying that this mainly happens in the warmer part of the year.
You want to do this when the sun is high in the sky, like from 10 am to 2 pm, other times of the day are typically too low in the sky and the UVB rays are filtered out by the ozone layer.
But I bet you’re still wondering why all of this is such a big deal right?
Well, there is a definite link to some serious problems if you are deficient in vitamin D. The big D influences about 3,000 of the genes in your body, so it’s a pretty important thing.
Did you know that vitamin D isn’t even really a vitamin, but rather a steroid hormone?
Vitamin D levels influence a lot of diseases, cancer, heart disease, diabetes..
in fact, studies are suggesting that having optimal vitamin D levels can cut your risk of many forms of cancer by as much as 60%!
Vitamin D helps cause mutated cells to self destruct, which reduces the spread and duplication of them, helps cause cells to become differentiated, reduces the growth of new blood vessels which helps keep tumors at bay.
You can also get Vitamin D through supplements, but it’s important to know what your levels are because you can overdose on it, so before you start popping Vitamin D pills get your blood levels checked, and it’s best to do this several times a year.