While the sunshine typically evokes images of summertime barbecues or relaxing days at the beach, the sun is now commonly linked to Vitamin D, the “sunshine vitamin.”
The hype over Vitamin D is certainly not unwarranted. Vitamin D plays a huge role in your overall health, most famously for helping maintain strong and healthy bones. However, Vitamin D also helps with many other bodily functions, including those of the heart, lungs, muscles, brain and immune system. On top of that, Dr. Michael Donaldson, Research Director at the Hallelujah Diet, says, “Sun exposure feeds our pineal gland, sometimes referred to as our third eye. It is buried deep in our brain behind the eyes between the two hemispheres of the brain. The pineal gland produces melatonin, which affects circadian rhythms and is a terrific antioxidant.”
According to the Vitamin D Council, research suggests that a deficiency in Vitamin D plays a part in at least 17 varieties of cancer as well as heart disease, stroke, hypertension, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, depression, chronic pain, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, muscle weakness, muscle wasting, birth defects and periodontal disease.
Now there’s a reason to pay attention.
Although it’s called a vitamin, Vitamin D is technically a hormone, which is why the body is able to produce it itself—when it’s exposed to sunshine. The UV index must be three or higher in order for your body to begin producing Vitamin D. All other vitamins must be consumed through diet. The very few foods, such as cod liver and salmon, that do contain Vitamin D are so scant in Vitamin D that it will not make a difference (not to mention vegans don’t eat these foods).
The good news is “if you replace sunshine only with vitamin D in a supplement, you are getting the full benefits,” according to Dr. Michael Donaldson, Research Director at the Hallelujah Diet.
Try the Hallelujah Diet VITAMIN D3-K2. It’s important to ensure you take Vitamin D3—the form the body makes from cholesterol when it’s exposed to sunshine. The K2 is important to keep calcium out of the blood and in the bones.
The following groups are known to have lower Vitamin D levels, according to the Vitamin D Council. If you belong to any of these groups, be extra diligent about your daily Vitamin D intake.
- Individuals with darker skin.
- Individuals who spend most if not all of their time indoors.
- Individuals who regularly protect their skin from the sun with clothes and sunscreen.
- Individuals who live farther away from the equator.
- The elderly, as their thin skin is less able to product Vitamin D.
- Breastfed infants.
- Pregnant women.
- Overweight or obese individuals.
Regardless of who you are, most adults who are supplementing their Vitamin D need between 5,000 to 10,000 IU daily. To maximize the benefits of supplementation, take the vitamin with a meal with some healthy fats.
WHAT ABOUT SUNSCREEN?
The use of sunscreen varies for everyone, but it’s generally for two reasons: to avoid burning and to slow down the signs of aging on skin, such as wrinkles and hyperpigmentation.
If you’re concerned about burning, don’t be. As long as you simply go outside and enjoy the sun until you turn your first shade of light pink (or a bit longer if you’re darker skinned), you’ll not only be fine but you’ll also get a healthy dose of natural vitamin D. You can actually build a tolerance to burning if you consistently step outside for a bit. If you wear sunscreen, you’ll be hindering your body’s ability to produce Vitamin D.
Also, Dr. Donaldson tells us, “There is some good research showing that the carotenoid astaxanthin is good for preventing sunburns and helping skin resist wrinkles and aging marks.” You can find astaxanthin in Hallelujah Diet Joint Health to use as your natural sunscreen and skin protector from the inside.
If you like using sunscreen to slow down premature aging, first remember the vast majority of sunscreens on the market are also filled with toxic chemicals, such as fragrances and preservatives. If you absolutely would like to use sunscreen, refer to the Environmental Working Group’s Guide to Sunscreens for 2015.
The sun is one of God’s many magnificent gifts. Not only does the vast ball of fire lift our spirits, it was created to boost our health, too! And when we follow the Hallelujah Diet, our foods are rich in antioxidants and carotenoids that protect us when we are exposed to the sun.