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Sunny Vitamin D: Your Life Depends On It!

Apply sunscreen, wear a hat, and cover up, “they” say, insisting it is vital you “always” protect yourself from the sun. 

At first blush, this seems like prudent advice, but what about vitamin D?

This vital vitamin is your secret weapon against many preventable diseases, including heart disease and diabetes, and has shown an uncanny ability to reduce chronic pain, so it should not come as a surprise that those nasty cold and flu bugs are at their worst during winter.  But you have a lot more than just a runny nose to be concerned about.

Studies have shown those suffering from vitamin D deficiency are more likely to develop autoimmune illnesses and many forms of cancer, which is very troubling, considering not only are tumours more likely to develop, the rate of deaths rise as the days shorten and temperatures fall.

And when it comes to disease – cancer especially – vitamin D is its worst enemy!

What You Don’t Know:

Close to 70 per cent of people who have died from cancer also had a vitamin D deficiency.

Theories linking vitamin D deficiency to cancer have been tested and confirmed in more than 200 epidemiological studies, and understanding of its physiological basis stems from more than 2,500 laboratory studies. Vitamin D can help to stop breast cancer cells from spreading by replenishing ‘E-cadherin‘, one of the glue-like components giving structure to those cells.

It is believed that 90 per cent of breast cancer is related to vitamin D deficiency, which is 100 per cent preventable!

Being “D-ficient” may increase the risk of a host of chronic diseases, such as osteoporosis, heart disease, some cancers, and multiple sclerosis, as well as infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis and even the seasonal flu. Some people do not produce enough vitamin D from the sun, including those with darker skin, who are overweight, older, or cover up when they are in the sun. Correctly applied sunscreen reduces our ability to absorb vitamin D by more than 90 per cent.

Not all sunlight is created equal: The sun’s ultraviolet B (UVB) rays—the so-called “tanning” rays, and the rays that trigger the skin to produce vitamin D—are stronger near the equator and weaker at higher latitudes. So in the fall and winter, people who live at higher latitudes (in the northern U.S. and Europe, for example) can’t produce much vitamin D from the sun.

Sunshine and Vitamin D:

“The body also manufactures vitamin D from cholesterol, through a process triggered by the action of sunlight on skin, hence its nickname, “the sunshine vitamin.” ~ Dr. Oz

Children who have vitamin D-deficiency are more likely to get respiratory infections, while children exposed to sunlight seem to have fewer respiratory infections. It is estimated that one billion people don’t get enough vitamin D Medications such as Hydroxychloroquine, or Plaquenil, and corticosteroids can effect absorption of vitamin D.

A blood test called 25-hydroxy vitamin D can determine your vitamin D level. Just 15 minutes of exposure to the sun gives you 20,000 IUs of vitamin D; however, this is without sunblock in the summer; do not expose your skin to the sun without sunblock for long stretches of time. This can cause skin damage and increase your risk of skin cancer.

Recommended dosage: For all ages, the Institute of Medicine recommends getting between 600 and 800 IU per day. Dr. Oz recommends 1000 IUKeep in mind: Correctly applied sunscreen reduces our ability to absorb vitamin D by more than 90 percent.

Ensuring an adequate amount of vitamin D can potentially save your life, so don’t be afraid of a little fun in the sun!

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