It’s summertime and here in the Northeast we have peeled off the layers of winter clothing and are embracing the summer sun. The irony of having summer and summer vacation after months of longing for better weather in the winter is the reality that “Oh, my goodness, the sun will kill us!” We are told by The Media all of the time that the Sun is very dangerous and we should wear sunscreen at all times.

Do we really need the sun? Or, is it better to be sun screened up all of the time?

Yes. Of course we need the sun! Vitamin D is produced in skin exposed to sunlight, from ultraviolet B radiation. If we use sunscreen all of the time, the benefit of Vitamin D does not get produced by the body. Vitamin D is more bioavailable when it is produced by the body that is going to use it, it is fat-soluble and stays in the body for up to 40 days after it’s produced.

A way to make sure you get some sun and still protect your skin is to make sure you get some limited sun exposure without sunscreen every day. I’m not suggesting that anyone should go out and burn themselves, but in measured doses (10-15 minutes at a time in the summer) enjoy some natural Vitamin D synthesis.

A big part of the Vitamin D production in the skin has to do with the melanin, the body’s light filter. Concentration of melanin in the skin has to do with how well the UVB can penetrate and get made by the skin. People with more melanin will require more time in the sunlight to produce the same amount of Vitamin D. The time required to produce an adequate amount of Vitamin D depends on how far they are from the equator and the season, determining the amount of sunlight.

Although it’s best to have the Vitamin D made in your skin, you can get it through nutritional sources. In fact, it seems that most processed food in the US is enriched with Vitamin D. Only fish is naturally rich in Vitamin D, you can get all you need with a daily tablespoon of cod liver oil (the idea of squishing fish livers for their precious oil makes me want to swoon) but fortified foods include many breakfast cereals, milk and soymilk. Many supplements abound fortified with Vitamin D, including Balance Complete™ by Young Living which is a super-food-based meal replacement that is both a powerful nutritive energizer and a cleanser. Offering the benefits of Ningxia wolfberry powder, Balance Complete is high in fiber, high in protein, and contains the good fats, enzymes, vitamins, and minerals needed for a nutritionally dynamic meal. Balance Complete also features Young Living’s proprietary V-Fiber™ blend, which supplies an amazing 11 grams of fiber per serving, absorbs toxins, and satisfies the appetite while balancing the body’s essential requirements.

According to Wikipedia, diseases caused by Vitamin D deficiency include:

· Rickets, a childhood disease which slows long bone growth
· Osteomalacia, a bone-thinning disorder which occurs in adults,
· Osteoporosis, a condition characterized by brittle bones and loss of calcium

A deficiency of Vitamin D has also been pointed to for many other chronic health problems, although research is less official and other factors may be present. These include:

· High blood pressure
· Depression
· Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
· Cancer
· Periodontal disease (Gum disease)
· Multiple sclerosis
· Chronic pain syndrome

The problem of Vitamin D and The Sun is compounded and exacerbated by our culture of fear of the sun but in measured doses and with care we can help our body get the sun it deserves.

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