I’m sure we’re all enjoying the sunshine (minus the few rainy days). I can’t wait for it to get super hot- so I can soak up some rays and get my tan on! There is just something about sitting in the sun that truly revitalizes you…and that’s thanks to all the vitamin D! But I can’t help but notice how cautious everyone is about being in the sun and the slathering of sunscreen every 30mins!! So…..I think it’s about time we get our facts straight about the benefits of vitamin D and how so many of us our lacking this vital nutrient.
Most of us know that Vitamin D is essential in helping us to maintain health bones, and in children, it is especially important for proper growth and bone development. Since it is a fat soluble vitamin, it actually acts more of a hormone in our body than a vitamin. Studies show how important it is for pregnant mothers to supplement with D since it aids in the development of the immune system. Lack of this nutrient can cause an increase risk of autoimmune disorders. One study showed that children supplementing with 2000IU of vitamin D in the first year of life were 80% less likely to develop type 1 diabetes!!
So how much D do we need? Spending 15-20 minutes everyday in the sun will help you synthesize anywhere from 10,000 – 20,000 IU of D, WITHOUT SUNSCREEN! Your body cannot synthesize vitamin D if you are wearing sunscreen. I recommend that you ask your Doctor for a vitamin D test (25-hydroxy test)to measure your vitamin D levels so you can than gauge how much vitamin D you really need. Most Doctors are recommending supplementation of only 1000IU which I personally think is too low! If I can’t get outside I take anywhere from 3000-5000IU a day with my fish oil in the morning. It’s best taking your D with some fat since it is a fat soluble vitamin. But again…get tested so you know how much to take!
So what about sunscreen? It’s very important to shield yourself from the sun, especially if you have very fair skin. You definitely do not want to burn your skin, as this can pre maturely age your skin and cause a lot of oxidative damage. Wearing large brimmed hats, sitting under the shade, wearing long sleeves; these are all great sun shielders! I get very weary with all the sunscreen’s out on the market. Have you ever read the ingredients?! The toxic ingredients! I’d rather not put that on my skin, and there are some great natural sun screens out there by ALBA, BADGER and DESERT ESSENCE ORGANICS. If you ever do burn your skin, make some green tea and rub the tea bag over your burn. The antioxidants from the tea help protect your skin from further damage. Aloe is also a great burn soother as it can actually seep through 3 epidermal layers of skin to regenerate new skin cells. And who says you need to spend your money on expensive creams!
So go soak up some immune supportive, bone building vitamin D and enjoy the summer months!