“Vitamin D may be the most under-appreciated and misunderstood anti-aging secret” – Michael F. Holick, Ph.D., M.D
What if I told you that there is an anti-aging vitamin that can help you prevent Cancer, Osteoporosis, Heart Disease, Depression, Diabetes, Arthritis, Psoriasis and Fibromyalgia?
Would you take it? And, at what cost?
What if I told you that this vitamin is readily available to you everyday… for free?
At this point you’re probably wondering if there is a catch and the truth is, there is: In order to obtain these benefits, you must first overcome your fear of the sun and be willing to expose your skin regularly to sunlight without sunscreen.
Many of you may have this staple vitamin in your pantry; but according to experts, the best way to obtain Vitamin D is through sunlight.
What’s so special about Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is not your average vitamin. Vitamin D is far more complex and sophisticated due to the fact that it is technically not even a “vitamin”, it is actually a hormone. This hormone influences the behavior of all hormone-related functions within our bodies, including the liver, pancreas, kidneys, heart, pineal gland, sex organs and more.
In fact, Vitamin D is so essential to our bodies that leading medical experts suggest that we as Americans can prevent 75% of cancer just by getting everyone’s Vitamin D levels to a normal range. And today? Millions currently stand deficient.
So why aren’t more Americans paying attention to their Vitamin D levels?
Unfortunately, the reality is that a majority of us have been fed many misconceptions surrounding sun exposure. From sunscreen commercials to skin care “experts”, everyone seems to have an opinion about the sun and although the majority of these messages are negative, that alone does render them factual.
MYTH: The Sun Causes Skin Cancer
Despite what you may have heard, the truth is, the Sun does not cause skin cancer. In fact, decades of scientific research suggests it can actually help prevent it; this correlation has been examined in many studies, including a decade-long study involving U.S Navy subjects. The study compared individuals employed in indoor positions vs outdoor positions vs both indoor/outdoor positions.
The results? Shocking.
Out of the 176 confirmed cases of melanoma during that 10 year time period, a very consistent trend was shown. Those who had occupations requiring them to only work indoors had the highest rates of melanoma as opposed to those who worked outdoors all the time and those who partially worked outdoors.
What does this tell you? Vitamin D is actually cancers worst enemy. Vitamin D is proven to be the major driver in regulating and maintaining healthy cell growth… and this includes maintaining healthy skin cells.
“The idea that sunlight is dangerous denies basic evolutionary science” – Dr. Michael Holick, Ph.D., M.D
The Many Benefits of Sunlight
Have you ever experienced a day out in the sun, felt the rays on your skin and thought “Wow, this feels really good”? Well, this is no coincidence as there is a plethora of scientific evidence supporting this.
A day out in the sun feels so good, because we have Vitamin D receptors in every cell and tissue in our bodies from our skin, to even our eyes. Once sunlight reaches our retinas, a signal travels via the optic nerves to the hypothalamus, positively influencing our mood and behavior instantaneously.
This explains why rainy days and snowy seasons are not as appealing as sunny, summer days. And the long-term health benefits of sunlight don’t just stop there; they extend far beyond mental health.
- Bone Health: Vitamin D is crucial in calcium absorption, without it you may end up absorbing only 1/3 your calcium intake
- Cellular Health: Vitamin D prevents cancer by regulating healthy cell growth
- Organ Health: Vitamin D prevents weight gain through the support of leptin production. This in turn prevents inflammatory diseases such as heart disease and diabetes
- Muscular Health: Vitamin D supports long-term muscle strength through its support of the parathyroid gland
- Autoimmune Health: Vitamin D prevents multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis through its support of the macrophage system
- Brain Health: Vitamin D prevents depression, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, and dementia through its support against oxidative stress and neurological degeneration
- Mood-Related Health: Vitamin D stimulates the production of ‘feel-good’ hormones (such as; serotonin, dopamine and beta-endorphins), prevents SAD (seasonal affective disorder), prevents PMS (premenstrual syndrome) and corrects sleeping disorders
The benefits listed above are just the tip of the iceberg regarding what Vitamin D can do for your health.
How to safely produce Vitamin D from Sunlight
1) Skip the Sunscreen
You skin cannot produce Vitamin D without exposure to UVB rays. Sunscreens block out these rays therefore blocking out your ability to make Vitamin D. When going out into the sun, exposing your legs and arms is the best way to produce the most Vitamin D at once.
2) Moderation is KEY
Safe sun exposure without sunscreen is recommended by leading Vitamin D experts but only for a specific amount of time tailored to your unique situation. This time isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach and depends on a variety of factors such as, your ethnicity, residential location and time of year.
Click here to find out your skin type and the appropriate time for you, year round.
You can also download Dr. Holick’s (the leading world authority on Vitamin D) app dminder available for free in the App Store.
3) Supplement When Necessary
It is understandable that in our busy lives it can be hard to set apart consistent times (2-3 days weekly) to be out in the sun. This can also be impossible if you live in a colder region with low sun exposure, or if you have dark skin and hold a 9-5 job indoors. This is when supplementation comes in. It is generally recommended to take 1000IU daily of Vitamin D2 (vegan option) or Vitamin D3.
Experts suggest that by taking this minimum dosage consistently, you can lower your risk of hormone-related cancers such as prostate cancer, breast cancer, colorectal cancer and ovarian cancer by 50%.
For specific recommendations of Vitamin D intake through supplementation, feel free to visit Dr. Holick’s website where he has a readily available chart of recommended dosages (depending on age, sex and other detailed factors).
And, you may be thinking.. “Well, why can’t I supplement all the time?”
The fact is, a Vitamin D supplement will never replace sunlight.
Vitamin D supplements should be used in addition to sunlight exposure, not in place of it. The Vitamin D produced by your skin from sunlight is far superior and lasts twice as long in your bloodstream. Furthermore, a supplement cannot grant you the wide range of benefits that sunlight can offer you – like neurological stimulation. Best of all, this form of solar-therapy is provided to you by Mother Nature for free.
Lay your fears to rest
The sun has gotten such a bad reputation over the years because many people do not have a healthy relationship with it. Like anything, moderation is key. Do you avoid water because someone has died from drinking too much of it? No, you drink it in moderation. The same goes for sun exposure.
Over time, research has shown that building your own natural SPF (sun protective factor) is actually the best way to prevent skin cancer. This is why studies have consistently shown melanoma to be a disease common in people who rarely go out into the sun compared to people who frequently do.
Should you forgo sunscreen altogether?
Of course not, especially if you’ll be out in the sun for hours.
Should you consistently skip the sunscreen in order to consciously obtain optimal Vitamin D levels?
“Water works wonders, air can do even more, but (sun) light works best of all”- Arnold Rikli
For more information regarding Vitamin D and sun exposure, I encourage you to check out research done by the world’s leading authority on Vitamin D, Michael F Holick Ph.D., M.D.