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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Here Comes the Sun

The sun was so beautiful yesterday. I just soaked it up. I think I am solar powered because I sure feel different when it's dreary and cloudy.

Vitamin D! We all know that extreme tanning is not good for our skin. Excessive sun exposure may not only lead to aged looking skin but to skin cancer as well. But 10-15 minutes of sun exposure a day can work wonders. It triggers your body to produce lovely Vitamin D that boosts mood, immune system, helps regulate insulin, promotes heart health and decreases risk of several types of cancer.

A couple of interesting facts:

1. The darker (melanin) your skin, the less UVB rays your skin absorbs. So you may be at greater risk of Vit. D deficiency. You might need to add some D rich foods to your diet if excessive sun exposure is a concern.

2. Vitamin D is fat soluble. Research has shown that if you are overweight, your D production system may not be functioning properly. More fat cells trap the Vitamin D and it doesn't get to circulate to trigger those immune responses, insulin regulation and such. So additional sun exposure or supplementation may be needed.

3. Most tanning beds deliver UVA rays. UVA rays do not trigger the production of Vitamin D. You need good old fashioned sun for that.

4. There is a new wrist gadget that will tell you when you've reached your limit of sun exposure. The Sunfriend can alert you when it's time to put on sunscreen. One drawback however is that it only measures the sun exposure of your wrist. You do need to account for the other parts of your body getting exposure. 

Sun screen vs. sun exposure is a controversial subject. Weigh your options carefully but for me a little bit of sun does my body good.

How Stuff Works - How much vitamin D do you get from the sun.
Harvard Health Publications- Time for more vitamin D 
Science Daily - Shining light n damage from daily sun exposure 
Skin Cancer Foundations- Understanding UVA and UVB - Which sun ray is responsible for the production of vitamin D: UVA or UVB? 

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