By Dr Janey
Nobody does it more perfectly than nature herself! It applies to our diet, and it applies equally to getting adequate amounts of Vit D, our all-important ‘sunshine vitamin’. Quite simply, if you have access to sunshine it will trump popping a Vit D pill or opting for a sun bed every time! If you read our previous article entitled ‘The sun and skin cancer – revealing the myths’ you will know that the sun is in fact our friend when it comes to preventing a whole host of diseases, and that includes 16x different types of cancers!
As Dr William Grant Ph.D (recognised Vit D expert) concluded from his studies, a startling 30% of cancer deaths (approx 2 million worldwide) could be prevented with higher Vit D levels!
Sadly however, most are not aware of this and instead are running scared of the sun due to the pervasive misinformation that exists around this subject which has people avoiding it almost entirely or slapping on sunscreen whenever they have to go outdoors. This prevents them from benefiting from the good UVB rays that enable Vit D3 production. Little wonder that 85% of people today are deficient in this crucial vitamin!
Note: If you missed the previous article, you can check it out here: https://blogdrjaney.com/2016/11/22/the-sun-and-skin-cancer-revealing-the-myths/
So how do we go about enjoying our beautiful sun and reaping all the benefits, while avoiding burning?
- When? Contrary to everything we’ve been told for so long, the best time of the day to sun bathe is near midday! Surprised? Most people are. The reason for this is that UVB rays have a short wave length which results in these beneficial rays only penetrating the ozone when the angle to the sun is more than 50 degrees to the earth. That only happens between 10am-2pm.
UVA on the other hand which penetrates the skin more deeply, causing more oxidative damage and hence skin aging or potentially contributing to skin cancer has a long wave length and is therefore present throughout the daylight hours. Therefore those people only going out in the mornings and late afternoons – as we’ve been falsely advised for so long – are only exposing themselves to the harmful UVA rays, while not being exposed to the beneficial UVB.
(please note: UVA from the sun is NOT the sole cause of skin cancer but should rather be considered a catalyst with the underlying primary causes been a poor diet, smoking and other negative lifestyle influences – more on this crucial topic in another article)
The good news is that for all those busy people who feel that they don’t have time to get out into the sunshine very often, you now only require a short window of time to get your dosage of Vit D at this hottest time of the day!
- How long? This will naturally depend on your skin colour. If you are very pale and unaccustomed to the sun then you may want to begin with just 5 minutes in the sun. This you can extend gradually as your natural protection builds. People with bronzed skin may handle 15 – 30 minutes, and if you have black skin then you will require 2-6x the time in the sun to get your dose of Vit D. The rule of thumb to follow is to leave the sun as soon as your skin shows the earliest signs of pinking. Staying longer in the sun has no additional Vit D benefit, and puts you at risk of burning.
- How much of your body? Expose at least 50% of your body to the sun to enjoy the UVB benefits by getting into some shorts and sleeveless top, or how about your swim suit?
- How often? Ideally at least 3 times per week building up to a minimum of 15-20 minutes.
- Don’t wear sun cream if you want to top up your Vit D levels. Most sun creams shield you from the good UVB rays that enable you to synthesise Vit D, while 60% of sun creams provide no protection from the harmful UVA rays. In addition most conventional sun creams contain toxic chemicals that have been shown to increase your risk of skin cancer and aging, while also potentially causing endocrine disruption when absorbed into the blood stream.
- If you have to be out in the sun for extended periods wear a broad brimmed hat and cool clothes that will provide a shield from the sun. It is worth noting that cotton clothing has the equivalent sun protection value of SPF 15.
- For those areas that are not adequately protected by clothing, opt for a non-toxic sun cream such as the following that we have carefully hand-selected for you here: http://www.drjaney.com/c45/Natural-Sun-Protection.aspx
- If you are very pale and would like to increase your natural protection against the sun, consider supplementing with Asthaxanthins. These powerful antioxidants are produced by microalgae called Haematococcus which will help protect your skin and eyes from the sun. You can find out more about this wonderful natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant at this link: http://www.drjaney.com/pRTA001/Anti-X-Astaxanthin—60-caps.aspx
- Try to avoid wearing sunglasses! While you do not want to look directly at the sun, gentle and natural exposure to the full spectrum of light is good for your eyes – again contrary to what we’ve been told for too long! If you have been wearing glasses (both sun and prescription) for a long time, you probably have very sensitive eyes so you would be advised to begin your exposure to natural light slowly, starting with a few minutes at a time and gradually building on this. In addition, with respect to your skin, choosing not to wear sunglasses allows the light entering your eyes to enable a chain of events that will lead to you generating melanin which will in turn afford you natural protection from the sun while creating a beautiful healthy glow. In contrast, wearing sunglasses will actually increase your risk of burning or skin damage by blocking this natural protective pathway.
- Finally, remember to observe the 48 hour rule! Vit D is a steroidal hormone (not a vitamin) and so we can wash away the good we have achieved by spending time in the sun by using soap for the first 48 hrs. While you can certainly shower during this time, it is best to avoid excessive use of soap which will dissolve the Vit D before it can be adequately absorbed. Therefore save the soap simply for feet, groin and armpits while resorting only to the flushing action of water to cleanse any dirt away.
Last, but not least – enjoy the sun and all those good happy hormones such as solitrol and serotonin that are released when you are out in the sunshine. They will leave you feeling vibrantly healthy while you can enjoy peace of mind knowing that following these simple guidelines in the sun will be protecting you from a long list of modern diseases including cancer!