Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Article: Healthy Sun Exposure

An interesting and informative article posted by KenFreehiker in the SkinnyTripper forum:

“. . . scientists have identified a total of nearly 3,000 genes that are upregulated by vitamin D. . . In recent years vitamin D has emerged as a star of the ‘vitamin’ world. For example, there are currently over 800 studies showing vitamin D’s effectiveness against cancer. Optimizing your vitamin D levels can literally cut your risk of several cancers by 50 percent! Further, middle aged and elderly people with high levels of vitamin D could reduce their chances of developing heart disease or diabetes by 43 percent.

Vitamin D is actually a ‘prohormone,’ which your body produces from cholesterol. Because it is a prohormone, vitamin D influences your entire body - receptors that respond to the vitamin have been found in almost every type of human cell, from your brain to your bones. So . . . vitamin D does more than just aid in the absorption of calcium and bone formation, it is also involved in multiple repair and maintenance functions, touches thousands of different genes, regulates your immune system, and much, much more.

Just one example of an important gene that vitamin D up-regulates is your ability to fight infections, as well as chronic inflammation. It produces over 200 anti microbial peptides, the most important of which is cathelicidin, a naturally occurring broad-spectrum antibiotic. This is one of the explanations for why it’s so effective against colds and influenza.

When you consider the fact that you only have about 25,000 genes in your body, and vitamin D has been shown to influence nearly 3,000 of them, the bigger picture of its true impact on your health can be easily understood. It may, in fact, have literally thousands of health benefits!

. . . Vitamin D deficiency is a growing epidemic across the world and is contributing to many chronic debilitating diseases.

. . . most people spend far too much time indoors during daytime hours. You may also have also been seriously misled by ‘expert’ recommendations to avoid all sun exposure, and to slather yourself with sunscreen whenever you do go outside. Please understand that sunscreen will virtually eliminate your body’s ability to produce any vitamin D because it blocks the UVB radiation that causes your skin to produce it naturally. As a result, in the United States the late winter average vitamin D is only about 15-18 ng/ml, which is considered a very serious deficiency state. In fact, new studies show that about 85 percent of the U.S. population is vitamin D deficient.

. . . 60 percent of patients with type 2 diabetes have vitamin D deficiency.

. . . It’s absolutely tragic that dermatologists and sunscreen manufacturers have done such a thorough job of deterring people from the sun - your optimal source for natural vitamin D.

Their widely dispersed message to avoid the sun as much as possible, combined with an overall cultural trend of spending more time indoors during both work and leisure time, has greatly contributed to the widespread vitamin D deficiency seen today - which in turn is fueling an astonishingly diverse array of common chronic diseases

. . . A study by Dr. William Grant, Ph.D., internationally recognized research scientist and vitamin D expert, found that about 30 percent of cancer deaths - which amounts to 2 million worldwide and 200,000 in the United States - could be prevented each year with higher levels of vitamin D.

. . . The optimal time to be in the sun for vitamin D production is as near to solar noon as possible. That would be between roughly 10:00am and 2:00pm.

. . . Most people with fair skin will produce the maximum amount of vitamin D in just 10-20 minutes, or, again, when your skin starts turning the lightest shade of pink. Some will need less, others more. The darker your skin, the longer exposure you will need to optimize your vitamin D production. African-Americans need perhaps 20 percent more sun exposure time than whites.

And contrary to popular opinion, your body simply cannot make adequate vitamin D from the sun unless you have more skin area exposed than just your face and hands. In fact, at least 40 percent of your body should be uncovered to optimize your vitamin D production.” – Dr. Mercola

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