It is generally understood that if we take a plant from the sunny window sill and put it in a dark closet it won’t be long before the plant is no more. We can water it and feed all we want, but it won’t impact the outcome. With Humans it is not necessarily the same decisive outcome. If we lived in an environment void of natural sunlight we could manage an existence although it would not be a healthy one. The lack of sunlight would take it’s toll in a variety of ways and lead to overall poor health.
Simply stated, we need sunlight and the Vitamin D that it provides in order to maintain good health. Vitamin D is absolutely necessary for overall good health and affects every aspect of our being including our mental health. It would not be unrealistic to state that any and every health condition could in some way and on some level be tied to Vitamin D deficiency. Therefore it would also be realistic to suggest that any health condition could be improved with Vitamin D intake as part of the overall treatment approach.
Doctors and the medical community have long known that Vitamin D improves immune function. Before the introduction of antibiotics, the treatment of tuberculosis and other infections focused on sun exposure and cod liver oil both of which are sources of Vitamin D. Additionally, researchers in 2006 discovered a powerful germ killing peptide found in the immune system that is boosted by Vitamin D intake.
The winter months are called the cold and flu season because this is when infections and transmission rates are at their highest of the year among the general population. This is not because it’s cold outside, but rather because we the general population are experiencing our lowest Vitamin D levels of the year. Although Vitamin D is fat soluble and can be stored by the body, it cannot be stored for very long and we eventually run low in the winter months unless we take measures to maintain healthy levels.
Natural sunlight consists of ultraviolet light, mainly UVA, UVB, and UVC. It is UVB light that is most commonly associated with Vitamin D production by the body. Tanning beds usually rely on UVA light which will tan the skin but is not capable of producing Vitamin D, although there are some manufactures of newer style tanning beds that claim increased amounts of UVB light. To get ones Vitamin D from an artificial light source, one has to consider a sunlamp specifically designed to produce UVB light.
A sunscreen as low as SPF 8 can block up to 90% of the Vitamin D production by the skin. Conversely, just a few short minutes of total body sun exposure can produce as much as 40,000 IU of naturally occurring Vitamin D for the body. Compare that to 447 IU for 3 ounces of wild salmon, 1,360 IU for 1 tablespoon of cod liver oil and 41 IU for one large egg yolk.
At this time there are more than 60 studies demonstrating that higher levels of adequate Vitamin D can lower the risk of developing various cancers including, lung, colon, leukemia and breast cancer. Now for an interesting note: Skin cancer as we all know has been widely attributed to damage to the skin as a result of unhealthy over exposure the sun. But now the evidence is mounting that suggest that skin cancer can also be directly linked to lack of healthy doses of sunlight and adequate Vitamin D levels and therefore, depending on circumstances, sunscreen may actually contribute to skin cancer.
There is also a growing link between Vitamin D deficiency and Autism whereas current data demonstrates higher incidence of the condition in northern climates with more overcast days and less sun. Additionally, there appears to be a link between Autism and children born in the spring of the year suggesting a correlation between the timing of the third trimester when brain development is most critical and the season that Vitamin D levels would be at the lowest.
Written by DMK of Seven Grains.