So what’s the deal with Vitamin D?
May 21, 2013 By Billy
Everyone seems to be vitamin D deficient these days. Osteoporosis is more common than ever. And yet the way that vitamin D supplements are flying off drugstore shelves, you’d think we’re all getting plenty of vitamin D. Here’s the problem: as with most artificial supplements, all we end up doing by ingesting them is circumventing Mother Nature. People take calcium supplements to cover their lack of vitamin D, but did you know that most calcium supplements are made of coral? Unfortunately, the human body just hasn’t quite adapted to the ingestion of coral; or fake Vitamin D. You want vitamin D? The real stuff is right outside the door, nicely presented to us in a little something I like to call “sunshine.”
There’s no substitute for the sun. The sun’s rays interact with tannins in the skin to form vitamin D which is absorbed into the blood stream in just a matter of hours. Vitamin D then metabolizes with calcium in your diet to, among other things, help you maintain a sturdy frame. It’s essential. A key feature of your health.
But look at the way we’ve been conditioned to think of the sun’s rays as always being dangerous. We use exorbitant amounts of sunblock, spraying and rubbing man-made chemicals into our skin (which ultimately enter the bloodstream). AND HERE’S THE BIG ONE – Seemingly every “skin care/moisturizer” product on the market contains SPF. That’s not skin care. That’s ‘skin wear and tear’ aka Vitamin D block!
So am I recommending getting sunburned? Of course not. Sunblock has its place. If you’re on the beach for hours, use it. Please. But the fact is we need healthy amounts of sunshine. The key to getting it is the time of day!
The time of day to get your Vitamin D is actually mid-morning to mid-afternoon. Here’s why. There are 2 forms of UV radiation from the sun. UVB and UVA. It’s UVB that produces the Vitamin D. And the strength of UVB depends on the height of the sun in the sky. Middle of Day, more UVB. Early or late, less UVB. On the other hand UVA is strong all day. Long exposure to either is not good. High noon qualifies as extreme, however brief exposure of a few minutes will not be harmful. But again, the ideal time is mid-morning and mid-afternoon. And here’s the real key – more surface area of skin, shorter exposure time.
* Note – these times of day are general and do not apply to all regions of the world and at all times of the year. Also these principles do not apply in the exact same way to ALL body types. That’s getting into a more complex subject and is out of my level of expertise. Yes, you will get some Vitamin D early and late in the day but will be quite nominal compared to mid-day.
* Another Note – while good, you don’t need sunshine every day, of course. With northern winters, the human body has adapted to going months without it. But neither should you avoid it. And neither should you use sunblock and “skin care” products that contain sunblock any more than is absolutely necessary. If you’re out in the noonday sun, the best protection is wearing light cotton, long sleeves with a wide-brimmed hat.
If you need a moisturizer, look carefully at the ingredients and find one that doesn’t mention SPF. My recommendation? Olive or coconut oil. Greasy? Well, here’s the trick: when you’re in the shower, take a tablespoon of olive or coconut oil and rub it in all over your body. Then rinse well and towel dry. Your skin will soon radiate a natural glow. And olive oil is high in vitamin E, a natural antioxidant.
As for Vitamin D supplements – there is tremendous debate. But it’s not gonna hurt like many other supplements potentially could. I do have a friend who was taking exorbitant amounts of Vitamin D. She stopped taking it and got out in the sun and her Vitamin D levels increased impressively fast. But again, not all rules apply to everyone.
So, quick review – The right sunshine: good. Eating coral: bad. Vitamin D supplements: well, questionable. Save the sunblock for when you’re in the sun for a lengthy period. Remember that right outside your door is all the vitamin D you could ask for. It’s free and easily accessible. Ain’t Mother Nature grand?
ps…I say we meet up tomorrow for some 10am UVB and skip around the block in bikinis and speedos. You in?
…And hey, did you find this article helpful? If yes, pass it to a friend!