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The Benefits of Sunshine

Senior woman, young at heartMost of us love the sunshine — we love the warmth, the brightness, and the uplifting attitude sunshine symbolizes.  There’s no doubt that we need to be outside – it’s in our nature to enjoy the outdoors, and there are scientific reasons for it as well. Vitamin D production goes up when we are exposed to sunlight.   In his book “Dark Deception: Discover the Truth About the Benefits of Sunlight Exposure,” Dr. Joseph Mercola tells us that upward of 70% of Americans are Vitamin D deficient. And why is this important?

Vitamin D is essential for the maintenance of proper bone health. Without sufficient Vitamin D, you probably already know that you risk osteoporosis or osteomalacia, the adult form of rickets which leads to bone softening and malformation.  But did you know that lack of Vitamin D can contribute to Alzheimer’s Disease, or even some forms of cancer?

The fact is, we’ve been sold a bill of goods about the dangers of sunlight. Yes, prolonged excessive exposure has risks associated, but a normal amount of sunshine is not only harmless, it’s essential for good health.

One reason we’ve been deceived is because of the proliferation of sunscreen products, all clamoring for market share – but unfortunately, these products may have serious drawbacks.

First, they have toxic chemicals in them that may be carcinogenic, or disrupt hormone function. This can actually damage skin cells more than the sun would, and inadvertently cause other health issues.

In addition, because they block important frequencies of light, sunscreens also prevent Vitamin D production, which means that the benefits of bone integrity, immune system enhancement, anti-aging and dental health can be severely compromised.

Here is some of Dr. Mercola’s argument for regular sunshine in your life:

1. Sunlight and whole foods send breast cancer into remission.

2. The sun’s light kills bad bacteria.

3. Sunlight has a beneficial effect on skin disorders, such as  psoriasis, acne, eczema and fungal infections of the skin.

4. Sunlight lowers cholesterol.

5. The sun’s rays lower blood pressure.

6. Sunlight penetrates deep into the skin to cleanse the blood and blood vessels.

7. Sunlight increases oxygen content in human blood. And, it helps the body deliver oxygen to the tissues, similar to the effects of exercise. The sun increases stamina, fitness and muscle development.

8. Sunlight builds the immune system. White blood cells, called lymphocytes, increase with sun exposure, and they play a major role in defending the body against infections.

9. Regular sunlight exposure increases the growth and height of children, especially babies.

10. Sunlight can cure depression.

Dr. Mercola does caution us to ease into sunlight, to avoid shocking the skin, and to build up tolerance. But he makes the point that the fear we have developed around going out into the sun is ungrounded, and in fact is making us sicker.

So, get some sunshine this spring and summer – it won’t hurt you if you do it in moderation, and avoiding sunlight altogether can make you ill. Be wise, and get just the right amount of sun this year – you’ll be healthier because of it.

Our patients have but one regret, not seeing us sooner. Get Educated! Get Inspired! Take Action!

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