Sunshine In A Bottle – is this a good option?
This is a series on how Routines & Rituals can change your life in little ways without it being a stress or something you have to think about, you just Do it automatically. Today we are going to look at a topic that is considered somewhat controversial a subject that isn’t discussed about in public often enough but the talk is increasing.
I think most places in Australia we can say summer definitely arrived this year. Even in little old Tassie I am sitting here in mid-30’s trying to coax a breeze to move through our house so I can write this without beads of sweat rolling down my forehead to the keypad but what has this got to do with today’s topic
Different times of the year we have different rituals and routines that come and go depending on the season, this summer we have our routines to get our day moving or at the end of the day easing, even for those who were on holidays you just might be a little less structured. You get up you let the dog out you put on the kettle you have a shower and get dressed, you get the picture. if you are like me you have those certain medicines be it herbs or vitamins little pills that you take every day but a lot of us are taking one pill that over this time of year is such a waste of money, It is one that you don’t have to buy, you don’t have to grow and you can get it with no effort at all so why are we getting it from a bottle and what is one ritual or routine that really isn’t a good idea.
Like most things in our modern life people think that we can get it from a bottle, “just take one a day and you will be better” from our trusted Doctors or those Spruiking Marketiers. For some that pill a day is essential but for most it should only be a stopgap while we make necessary changes, but why is this pill not what we think it might be especially when we can get the real McCoy for free every day that is 100 times more beneficial.
In the Southern Hemisphere we know more than most of the prevalence of skin cancer. The intensity of our sun, the thinner ozone, hopefully an outdoor lifestyle all play havoc. Then in the 70’s along came the SLIP SLOP SLAP campaign (we all know the ditty it is stuck in our psych) it has had a huge effect on us and the reduction of Melanoma and serious skin cancers which is great, but for overall general health , what impact is it having on us all!
The Slip slop slap routine starts before we are born. When we are thinking of having a baby we hopefully make changes to our life in general for a healthier bub and we are still slip slop slapping, most of the time we start the pregnancy Vitamin D deficient and it goes on, baby is born and mums are scared to let kids play outside in the sun (for many reasons) then to child care where it is compulsory to slip slop slap every child to kinder and school where it relaxes a bit and only a hat is essential, to puberty where we lock ourselves in their room, to possibly an office job, hopefully we get some exercise in there but for many we are having less and less time getting some essential “Bennies”. The term we used to call it when I was growing up meaning “Beneficial Rays” or we get out during the day but before we leave the house or the car we slather the factor 30+ all over us like armor.
There are definitely people who have to supplement and that is the elderly who may be in a nursing home and not taken outside and the main group I get very concerned about are Muslim women who abide by faith. Many come to Australia and may live in social housing and in units. There is no safe area to uncover their skin in a safe confine to get sun on their skin, the other are Nuns they have the same situation as others but possibly a little more freedom in modern religion. What I suggest for the above to where safe you can consider a sun lamp. I will not go into much detail here but something to be considered if you do not have many options. There are safety considerations to take into account before using one but a good option for the right person.
There are a lot of discussions within the research and scientific areas and these are some of the questions being pondered.
- Do we really know what a good level of “Vitamin D” is?
- Does high level sunblock stop the D3 and other benefits from hitting and being absorbed into our skin?
- What role Is Vitamin D deficiency having in the creation or exacerbation to chronic inflammation?
- Does living at lower Latitude lead to greater deficiency?
The thing that no one is disputing that we need sun exposure and it takes relatively little unprotected sunlight exposure to acquire adequate stores of vitamin D.
10 to 15 min of sunlight or daylight unprotected exposure to a small area of skin (e.g., the forearm or face, etc.) twice a week, without sunscreen, supplies all the vitamin D necessary for good health
Getting out in the Sun-The Benefits
All we have to think about is how different we feel in the late Spring, Summer and early Autumn than we do in the Winter when we don’t have a lot of warmth in the sun or any sun at all (talking from the southern states here :} )
And as Rachel Arthur one of my most respected Naturopathic colleagues says:
“Do you have a deficiency of sun exposure?”
Some of the benefits from well managed unprotected sun exposure are listed below, is there anything that you can think of that benefits your health from safe sun exposure?
- One of the best things from being in the sun we feel HAPPY, it releases endorphins.
- The Steiner method of Anthropic medicine describes “having good levels of vitamin D means you are shining from the inside” it is a lovely picture to put in your mind seeing your whole body smile.
- Essential for good skin and reducing conditions like eczema, psoriasis, roseacea & more
- A healthier immune system
- You have a far greater risk of having a stroke than getting a Melanoma
- For Calcium absorption and conversion
- A free radical called Nitric oxide stores and moves from the skin to the blood stream and activates great benefits and can lower Blood Pressure
- It is essential that we do not always wear sunglasses as Eye exposure to the sun is essential for the immune system. (When I see little children always wear sunglasses I cringe)
- Melatonin is released which has shown to have anti-cancer effect to a number of cancers and is also our sleep nutrient.
- Effects our body clock – research has shown that long term shift work can increase cancer risk
- When we are outside in the sun we tend not to eat as much it can suppress the appetite we eat healthier so this can lead to reducing Insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome and is important for glucose tolerance and anti-obesity.
- Has an effect on depression
- Prevent rickets
- And the list goes on and on.
- Research is discussing latitude and Vitamin D exposure. We were trained believing below 34o latitude for the late autumn early spring & winter we did not have the benefits from the sun so during those months longer time in the sun is required. If you have good levels of sun exposure leading into these periods you are ok it is when we go in with low levels that we need supplementation.
For good skin & general health it is essential to have well managed unprotected sun exposure at either end of the day and is essential for supporting of psoriasis & eczema. Treatment via blue light is now common for treating skin conditions
- Ritual or Routine: Think responsible safe sun exposure. Every morning or late afternoon, if you are walking to school, to the train, from carpark, to work or a day at home, get outside without sun screen, Walk without long sleeves, even remove your sunglasses for a while so the sun can absorb into the retina. If you have an elderly parent or friend take them out into the sunshine of a morning or late afternoon and let them suck up the sun.
The Ritual you have to stop, Is when you leave the house in the morning instantly applying sunblock then and there when you don’t need it, for at least a few hours so take a small bottle with you and apply it when you need it.
Find skin care high in sun protecting antioxidants or zinc oxide and cover up. Get a favourite hat, a cheesecloth or light cotton shirt or top that you can keep in your bag and cover up and sit in the shade or walk on the shady side of the street.
Zinc oxide protects the surface of the skin . Sun blocks stop deep penetration of uva &uvb rays so it blocks the melanoma cancers but leads to an increase in surface cancers as it holds the rays In the shallow areas of the skin.
Foods containing Vitamin D
These are generally from Animal sources due to them eating grass or from the sea or foods fortified with D.
- Fatty fish, like tuna, mackerel, and salmon.
- Foods fortified with vitamin D, like some dairy products, orange juice, soy milk, and cereals.
- Beef liver.
- Egg yolks.
Vegan and vegetarians mainly obtain vitamin d from fortified foods and drink products like Almond milk and Chanterelle mushrooms so more reason for free sun exposure.
The biggest outcome from this should be – no one is saying that you should never use sunscreen but don’t be scared to go out without it on and applying sunscreen when it is needed not when it is convenient, especially for children.
Feel free to head to Facebook if you wish to leave any comments or have any questions,
Many thanks and see you next time.
Naturopath & lover of good skin & health for all