November 8, 2010 in Health, Lifestyle, Nutrition

Vitamin D and the Modern-Day Caveman

Light from the sun is vital to our well-being

Perhaps you’re stuck in the office anywhere from 8 to 12 hours per day. You might work the night shift. Regardless of what you do and when you do it, chances are you don’t get nearly enough sun on a daily basis. And even if you do get enough sunshine during the warmer months, the likelihood is high that you’ll get insufficient skin exposure to sunshine during the cooler months.

Modern society has most of us trapped indoors during most of the daylight hours. Many of us spend less than 15 minutes outside per day. Such little exposure to sunshine has a significant effect on our body. In short, most people have less Vitamin D in their body than they should.

Vitamin D is vital to our health and well-being. Over our evolution, our bodies developed the ability to manufacture its own Vitamin D through exposure to sunshine. Over the course of our day in the wild, we would get enough sunshine to promote all the Vitamin D manufacture we needed for good health. With the advent of modern society, this is no longer the case. Moreover, many companies and even doctors are spreading fear that sunshine is the new plague and a cause of many health concerns.

Vitamin D appears to be a crucial ingredient in maintaining an optimized immune system. Research over the last couple of years has consistently indicated that there is a direct correlation between the seasonal nature of flu-like illnesses and the decreased availability of sunshine-derived Vitamin D. Vitamin D has also been closely linked to cardiovascular health, prostate health in males,  healthy skin and more.

That last phrase might seem a little shocking to some people. Excessive skin ageing has been blamed on the sun in recent years.  Frankly spoken, it’s simply untrue for the vast majority of us. Exposure to red light (in the wavelength of 633 nm) stimulates collagen production, which helps to rejuvenate and firm up our skin. Yes, it’s true that hours on the beach will stress the skin, but if we optimize our exposure, it’s good for us!

Here are a few of the ways you can help maintain adequate Vitamin D levels when weather and/or lifestyle contribute to a lack of sun exposure in your life:

  • Vitamin D supplements – This is a great way to ensure you have adequate blood-serum levels of this important vitamin. There are a couple of gotchas involved though. The first is to make sure that your supplement is Vitamin D-3, not D-2. D-2 is a form that is often sold in supplement form, but it is not the form that is naturally created in our skin. All vertebrates naturally form Vitamin D-3, so when you’re looking for a vitamin supplement, make sure it is of the D-3 variety.We should also take care not to under- or overdo our dosage. The only way to be sure that we’re getting the right dose is to have our blood-serum level checked. This is a relatively inexpensive blood test. There are some doctors, e.g., Mercola, who believe that certain labs in the U.S. do not give correct results, so some research into this aspect is warranted.
  • Fish oil is another great way of getting Vitamin D into the diet, as well as a good amount of Omega-3 fatty acids. An excellent source of fish oil is salmon oil. You’ll want to be sure that any salmon oil you consume is sourced from salmon taken from arctic waters. One supplier of excellent repute would be Vital Choice.
  • Eggs are an excellent source of Vitamin D, particularly when the chickens are organically raised, free-range stock getting plenty of exercise and a natural diet. Research indicates that these birds offer much more Vitamin D in the meat and eggs than do conventionally raised birds.
  • Home tanning beds are a somewhat controversial topic. The reason is that not all tanning beds are created equal. In fact, many are downright dangerous for your health. A good tanning bed, however, can be extremely helpful in offering all the light frequencies we need to supplement our health.In particular, one should avoid tanning beds with magnetic ballasts. If you’ve ever used a tanning bed that hums during operation, it has a magnetic ballast. Magnetic ballasts emit strong electromagnetic fields (EMF) that is disruptive to the energy systems of the body. You want a tanning bed that uses an electronic ballast.

    Ideally, you want a bed (or hanging “light array”) that features a combination of Vitamin-D producing UVB, infrared, red and blue bulbs. Infrared benefits muscles, joints and connective tissues. Red encourages collagen production. Blue has been suggested to promote overall skin health.

    Although some tanning salons do use beds that feature electronic bulb ballasts, certain bulbs being used may release harmful x-rays. Given there’s no real way to know whether the bulbs in a commercial setting are safe to use, I encourage the use of home lighting/tanning systems.

Living Intentionally approaches well-being from a complete, holistic viewpoint. Vitamins and nutrition are a part the larger picture. Be well. Much love.

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