The Sunshine See-Saw
The Sunshine See-SawThe headline of a recent Reader’s Digest article (September 2006) proclaims vitamin D as a “miracle vitamin” with an opening headline that reads: “New evidence shows that getting enough Vitamin D may be the most important thing you can do for your health.”
Most surprisingly, the article suggests that we should all spend more time in the sun. This, of course, is in sharp contrast to the strident warnings of the past decade that cautioned us to stay out of the sun, or to at least slather ourselves with SPF 500 sunscreens if we could not avoid its deadly rays.
But new evidence now suggests that the Vitamin D provided by natural sunlight is a miracle vitamin, important not just for building strong bones and teeth, but for preventing all manner of diseases and disorders from heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, and gum disease, to various forms of cancer -- including colon cancer, prostate cancer, and breast cancer. Vitamin D works like a hormone and regulates cell growth, which helps explain its amazing power to inhibit cancers.
The benefits of Vitamin D are also beginning to show up in labs studying immune system disorders such as MS. And we have long known that Vitamin D is required for calcium absorption and to prevent rickets.
Dermatologists concerned about the effects of sun exposure on the skin advise getting D from supplements, but sun exposure may be a better alternative. Too much vitamin D from supplements produces toxicity, unlike getting vitamin D from the sun, because a natural shut-off stops production as soon as the body has enough.
The Reader’s Digest article shares this approach to balancing skin cancer concerns with the amazing benefits of sun exposure: “First, figure out how long it takes your skin to turn pink or show other signs of reaction to the sun. Then spend only one-quarter of that time outdoors without sunscreen (except on your face) several times a week. For most people, that adds up to 10 to 15 minutes in the midday sun (unless your skin is very fair and reddens with such brief exposure). African Americans and others with very dark skin may need at least twice the time in the sun. For best results, expose at least 50 percent of your body, wearing shorts and a T-shirt or a bathing suit, if possible. And when your time is up, protect your skin and slather on the sunscreen!”
Vita 1 has 1,000 iu or 250% of the daily Vitamin D RDA per capsule.
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