Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Get to the beach...

...for Vitamin D therapy

As summer approaches and many of you are already visiting the many nearby lakes, rivers, creeks and beaches, its time to talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly in sun exposure. There has been concern in recent years that the United States has gone too far in promoting protection from the sun since it is a great natural source of Vitamin D3.

Vitamin D3 has benefits for men, women and children:

• Helps strengthen immune system
• Helps prevent osteoporosis
• Helps prevent cancer
• Helps prevent type 1 and type 2 diabetes
• Helps maintain blood levels of calcium and phosphorus
• Helps increase absorption of calcium
• Potent immune system modulator
• Four times as potent as Vitamin D2
• Helps lower inflammation by increasing anti-inflammatory messengers
• Helps prevent risk of coronary artery disease
• Helps control insulin synthesis and secretion

Vitamin D deficiencies were rare when most men worked out in the sunny fields and women hung clothes out on the line. But as work shifted from farms to offices, that changed. Elderly individuals, obese individuals, exclusively breastfed infants, and those who have limited sun exposure are all at higher risk of Vitamin D3 deficiencies. Also, individuals who have fat malabsorption syndromes (e.g., cystic fibrosis) or inflammatory bowel disease (e.g., Crohn's disease) are at risk.

There is strong evidence that deficiencies may result in rickets, muscle weakness and pain, osteoporosis, psoriasis, and thyroid issues.

How much sun is safe for your skin?

Considering the fact that sun exposure is both natural and essential for life, avoiding it to the extreme that’s commonly recommended certainly doesn’t seem right. Multiple sources, including the Mayo Clinic, say that 10-20 minutes of sun exposure is safe for healthy skin. Beyond that, apply your sunscreen.

Maintain healthy, resilient skin by drinking plenty of water (at least 64 ounces each day) and eating a healthy diet with a good balance (20%) of fatty acids.

Other sources of Vitamin D:

Vitamin D is found in dietary sources such as fish, eggs, fortified milk, and cod liver oil. Being in the sun also contributes to the daily production of vitamin D3.

The dietary recommendations from the FDA are 400-800 IUs a day dependant on age. But many experts believe that these recommendations are far too low to maintain healthy vitamin D levels. They advocate for supplementation of about 2,000-4,000 IUs per day and a dose of daily sunshine in the summer.

For more information on Vitamin D3 supplementation, or eating for healthy skin, contact me.

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