By Dr. Jon Cartile DC
I would say that the majority of articles written today about the sun are designed to put the fear of God into you. Our modern science has proven that the sun’s radiation can be harmful to the human body. In such general terms, this statement is a disservice to you and your health.
The sun is vital to our health, period. We have evolved over of millions of years to utilize the sun and flourish with the energy it provides. One of the biggest problems with sun-related diseases has to do with the global world we live in. We used to only travel on foot and be confined to certain areas of the world. Now we hop on a plane and can live in an area of the world that our body isn’t genetically suited for.
One prime example is the colonization of Australia by the British. There were boatloads of British people, who for generations lived in an area of low sun exposure, that were suddenly exposed to the intense Australian sun. Statistically, Australians have one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the modern world. This is compared to the aboriginals of Australia who have much darker skin and conversely, much lower rates of skin cancer. The intensity of the sun is the same for both skin types, so it is premature to solely blame the sun for this problem.
What does the sun do for you??
I cannot say enough about the importance of Vitamin D. But here are a few points:
- It is vital to proper bone health (prevents osteoporosis and osteopenia)
- Supports the immune system and nervous system
- Helps with regulation of mood; prevents depression
- Decreases the risk of Type 2 Diabetes
- Lowers blood pressure
Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, depression, osteoporosis, all are chronic diseases are on the rise. Is it a coincidence that these diseases are increasing and so is the usage of sunscreen and sun block?
Take the Vitamin D Test
I want you to do a test. Take your thumb and press it firmly into your shin bone. Does it hurt?? If you say yes, aside from having shin splints, there is a good chance you are vitamin D deficient. Our body is designed to make it near impossible to overdose on vitamin D from sunshine. So get out and get sun. The darker your skin tone the more time you need to get your vitamin D levels up. Remember not to overdo it. Be aware of your sun exposure and choose health sun protection with natural sunscreen, clothing or shelter.
The Sun is Antibacterial
The sun is bacteriophagic (which means it kills bacteria). Since bacteria is one of the most common causes of illness and disease, it is a good idea to embrace an sunny environment the is naturally keeping bacteria in check. Let the sun into your home and work environment.
Sun Smart Tips
I hope you look at the sun in a new light (pardon the pun). Embrace the sun but understand that you might not be genetically adapted to your environment. Understand your skin type and take precaution, and I don’t mean sunscreen. Today we do not spend enough time outside. So we don’t give our body a chance to tan and protect itself. So if you hibernate until the middle of June and go outside for the whole day, you will get burned. Try to get outside and exposed to the sun regularly for shorter periods of time over the year. This way, when you go out in June, your skin is better adapted to handle the sun. Most people slather on the sunscreen and never give their skin a chance to adapt to the environment and produce vitamin D, opening themselves up to the chronic diseases mentioned above.
There is no substitute for the sun. It’s been working for us for hundreds of thousands of years. There is big money behind the sunscreen industry invested in scaring you into getting protection. However, it does not discuss the risk of the toxins contained in many sunscreens. Be sun smart, know your skin type, and make time to get outside and enjoy your summer.