Dogs and birds know the sun’s good for them. When they lie out in the light of the sun, oils in their fur or feathers are kick-started into making vitamin D.
Snakes and lizards hold onto energy by absorbing sunlight. That way they can eat less and warm up easier.
These creatures can sense that they need the power of the sun. And it’s no wonder.
The sun is the Earth’s main energy source. It warms the planet. Its solar power is the driving force for precipitation and our water cycle. It makes liFe possible.
And now that summer’s here, we’re thinking beach, barbeques and enjoying the outdoors. This is the perfect opportunity to naturally soak up some vitamin D by embracing the sun — exactly as our ancestors did.
Hard to believe, but before fashion icon Coco Chanel stunned the world with her French Riviera glow in the 1920s being tan was considered unattractive. But a healthy glow is about so much more than your appearance.
Warm Up To Sunshine
We need the sun because it creates vitamin D — probably the most important nutrient we know of. Even so, the CDC is still pushing its hide-from-the-sun campaign, calling for wide-brimmed hats, clothing over our entire body and staying in the shade. It still claims, “There’s no such thing as a safe tan!”1
They couldn’t be more wrong. They now have you shying away from the sun or slathering up with sunscreen.
Sunscreens skyrocketed after doctors in the 1970s wrongly linked an outbreak of tanning salon-caused cases of skin cancer in Australia with normal sun exposure.
So vitamin D levels tanked…
The Vitamin D Council says that 70% of people in the U.S. are now deficient in this all-important vitamin — that’s 228 MILLION men, women and children with dangerously low levels of this nutrient.2
Low vitamin D has been linked to asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease and coronary artery disease.
Vitamin D Lowers Cancer Risks
In fact, the more vitamin D you make from the sun, the lower your risk of dying from 15 different types of cancer.3
That same study found that 96% of people who have a heart attack are deficient in vitamin D — but when vitamin D is boosted, death rates drop by 11%.4
Your body makes vitamin D when your skin is exposed to sunlight. That’s one of the reasons why I encourage my patients to get out in the sun every day, if possible, without sunscreen.
But production of vitamin D depends on the season, where you live and time of day. Sunscreens with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 8 or greater will block UV rays that produce vitamin D.
You will not be able to get enough vitamin D from sunlight during late autumn through winter. Especially if you live in the upper half of the United States. But there are ways to boost your vitamin D levels anytime of the year.
Don’t be “D-prived”!
Your absolute best source of vitamin D is the sun. But I also let my patients know they can boost their levels every day and avoid vitamin D deficiencies.
- Eat your vitamin D! Especially during the winter, look for wild Alaskan salmon, North Atlantic (chub) mackerel, sardines, canned chunk light tuna, pasture-raised eggs, grass-fed beef and dairy.
- Add cod liver oil to your morning routine. Next to sunlight, this is the best source of vitamin D. As you can see in the table above, it provides 1,360 IUs in just a single teaspoon per day. Since cod liver oil is whole-food based and easily digested, you can take it any time of day — though many people prefer a spoonful in the mOrning as it helps with energy regulation throughout the day.
- Supplement with vitamin D3. Be sure not to confuse it with vitamin D2. Chain-store manufacturers use a synthetic, chemical form of vitamin D2 (called ergocalciferol or calciferol). You want vitamin D3.
Vitamin D3 — also called calcitriol — is the active form of vitamin D that your body makes when you go out in the sunshine. It can boost your energy levels, help you maintain a strong immune system and give you better bone-boosting support.
I recommend 5,000 IUs a day — and take it in the morning. Make sure your supplement also provides vitamin K2 (menaquinone-7), which helps activate and improve absorption of vitamin D3.
And don’t forget to supplement with magnesium citrate, since magnesium levels can dip when you’re taking this vitamin. I recommend daily magnesium supplementation of 600 mg to 1,000 mg per day with your vitamin D3.
To Your Good Health,
Al Sears, MD, CNS
P.S. In case you missed it, I just let my Ageless Beauty Secrets readers in on a way to harness your body’s “internal sunscreen” power using a breakthrough antioxidant formula made in France. Click here to read more.
DID YOU FIND THE RED LETTERS: FIDO
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Sources & References
1. CDC. 5 Simple Sun Safety Strategies. Posted May 8, 2018.
2. Tovey A. “Are we currently amid a vitamin D pandemic?” Vitamin D Council. November 18, 2016. Accessed May 14, 2018.
3. Grant WB, et al. “The association of solar ultraviolet B (UVB) with reducing risk of cancer: Multifactorial ecologic analysis of geographic variation in age-adjusted cancer mortality rates.” Anticancer Res. 2006;26(4A):2687-2699.
4. Chowdhury R, et al. “Vitamin D and risk of cause specific death: Systematic review and meta-analysis of observational cohort and randomised intervention studies.” BMJ. 2014;348. Doi: 1136/bmj.g1903.