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Expose Yourself – Be Healthy

by Jeff Cordeiro

Expose YourselfObserve the boundaries of good taste but take it off when you can. By exposing more skin to the noonday sun in the spring and summer, you derive the benefits of sun exposure in the least amount of time.

I realize that what I am suggesting flies in the face of many things that you’ve been told for decades but as Dr. Phil might ask, how’s that working for you? Americans are about as unhealthy as they have ever been. So, it might be time to do things a bit differently. As Einstein once said, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

Sun exposure and the resulting vitamin D has been linked to fewer colds, fewer diseases of all kinds including Alzheimer's and cancer, stronger bones, collagen and cartilage production, a healthier sex life, reduced serum cholesterol levels, and improved detoxification. 

One study shows that low vitamin D levels in pregnant mothers may increase the chances of their children being born with learning disabilities by, up to, seven times. Unfortunately, most people are vitamin D deficient (about 75% in America and 90% in Canada).

Exposing your skin to sunlight is the best way to get vitamin D. The epidermis produces Dehydrocholesterol, which is converted into vitamin D when exposed to UVB radiation. Vitamin D regulates the calcium and phosphorus levels in the blood and is needed for bone growth. It is now also thought to be crucial in preventing cancer. If you’re able to get out into the sun for an adequate period of time each day in the spring and summer, your vitamin D levels should be optimized naturally.

Did you know that the only vitamin not found in breast milk is vitamin D? If we were meant to receive vitamin D orally, don't you think mother nature would have included vitamin D in a infant's only source of sustenance?

Also, do not take Vitamin A supplements or cod liver oil. Recent studies show that Vitamin A supplements may negate the health benefits of Vitamin D. Instead, get your Vitamin A by eating colorful vegetables. The body will produce the precise amount of Vitamin A it needs from the beta-carotene contained in the vegetables.

Click on the video below for Dr. John J. Cannell's explanation regarding the importance of vitamin D and its control on health, happiness and 2000 different gene functions.

Click here to watch Dr. Oz explain the importance of vitamin D on ABC.

More proof of the importance of sun exposure comes from a study by William B. Grant, Ph.D. (Independent Researcher, Newport News, Virginia) that shows the further from the equator a population is, the greater the cancer rates are within that population. This could be due to modern migration (where people are no longer living in areas that provide them with the correct amount of sunlight for their ancestry), or it could be due to the fact that more of the beneficial rays are filtered out by the atmosphere at latitudes further from the equator, or a combination of both.

Shorter beneficial UVB rays are also filtered out by clouds and glass, which is why you naturally want to go outside on sunny days and stay indoors on cloudy days. The longer UVA rays actually destroy vitamin D and cause oxidative stress. Your body attempts to filter the bad rays out by producing a tan. Beneficial UVB rays do not cause you to tan.

If you are watching your diet to control your cholesterol levels, you will be interested to know that a 1966 Russian study demonstrated that a gradually increasing program of sunbathing lowered cholesterol and triglyceride levels significantly and normalized electrocardiograms.

Being cholesterol is an important precursor molecule for the synthesis of testosterone, it could be that serum cholesterol levels are lowered, due to an increase in testosterone production? As far back as 1930, researchers found that solar radiation increased testosterone secretion.

Another study shows that infrared light produces more nitric oxide syntheses (NOS), an enzyme in the body that not only aids the immune system but also contributes to dilating blood vessels. So, sunlight is also a natural Viagra.

Sunbathing has been shown to increase detoxification as well. Obviously, you’re going to sweat a bit while laying out in the noon-day sun (that’s when you get the most UVB rays) and sweating is a wonderful way to rid the body of toxins. However, there’s also evidence indicating vitamin D improves your brain’s detoxification process. This may be especially important for children and pregnant women and could play a major role in protecting children from autism. One study shows that vitamin D helps safely remove mercury (see how mercury damages the brain) from the body and may even prevent brain tumors.

So, now that you know why sunbathing is good, how do you know how much sun is right for you? First, look at your complexion. If you are fair, you need less sun than someone who is dark (possibly 10 or 20 times less). It gets back to ancestry. If your ancestors developed in a country that was shrouded in clouds most of the time, you have fair skin and require less sun. If your ancestors developed in a country where the sun shined all year round, you have darker skin and need more sun exposure. Melanin is skin’s natural sun block.

Also keep in mind that, if you only expose 10% of your skin, you will need to be in the sun five times longer than if you expose 50% of your skin, to derive the same benefits. Of course, the length of time you can be in the sun safely is determined by your complexion and does not change. So, when in the sun, expose as much skin as possible (after all, the body was designed naked).

A person with a medium complexion needs about 10 minutes of sun per day during the spring and summer to derive the health benefits mentioned. Depending on your complexion and how often you’re in the sun, your time limit may be more or less.

According to Dr. Grant, you need about 2,000 IU to 4,000 IU a day of vitamin D to reduce your cancer risk by 30 to 50 percent. Unfortunately, most people only get 250-300 IU a day from their diet. Fortunately, the body is capable of producing about 10,000 IU of vitamin D each day when exposed to the sun.

So, I lay out in the sun about every other day, 15 minutes per side, weather and season permitting. I have a medium to fair complexion. I do not use sunscreen. Approximately, 97% of my skin is exposed (I’m in the privacy of my backyard). I don't burn and my skin is softer than I can remember it ever being.

Yes, I said I don’t use sunscreen. First, I eat and drink plenty of sun protection. I thought that might get your attention. Remember, skin damage is caused by free radicals. Free radicals are mitigated by anti-oxidants. Therefore, a diet rich in anti-oxidants will provide a great deal of natural protection from the damage that can be caused by overexposure to the sun.

To view a CBS News video on “Edible Sunscreen”, please click here.

Here’s a trick to let you know when it’s time to cover up. If you’ve ever been to a tanning salon, you’ve experienced the aroma of ozone. That smell isn’t created by the tanning beds alone. Your body also produces that odor, when skin cells are damaged. So, after 10-15 in the sun, smell the palms of your hands. If you smell ozone, it’s time to put your clothes back on.

So, what about sunscreen? First, keep in mind that sunscreens have only been around for a few decades. Then, realize that skin cancer rates are higher now than they have ever been. Why? Well, unfortunately, sunscreens are very good at blocking out the good UVB rays but not so good at blocking out the bad UVA rays. So, if you’re going into the sun to get the benefits, sunscreen is a bad idea.

What about a day at the beach? Certainly, sunscreen would be a good idea then. Not necessarily. There are toxic compounds in sunscreen like PABA (ethyl dihydroxy propyl PAB, glyceryl PABA, p-aminobenzoic acid, padimate-O or octyl dimethyl PABA). Margaret Schlumpf and her colleagues (Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Zurich, Switzerland) have found that these widely-used sunscreen chemicals mimic the effects of estrogen and trigger developmental abnormalities in rats and cause cancer cells to grow more rapidly.

Need more? How about the possibility that certain compounds may actually cause skin cancer. Benzophenones (dixoybenzone, oxybenzone), when absorbed into skin that is exposed to sunlight, cause free radical damage – the very thing that sunscreens are supposed to prevent?

OK. What about sunscreens that don’t contain these compounds? Think back to those old surfer movies. Remember that big white blob that all the kids had on their noses? That was sunscreen made with zinc oxide and it stayed on your skin all day. This is the sunscreen thought to be safe. Zinc oxide even has anti-inflammatory properties. Unfortunately, most people don’t want to slather their bodies in a white coating of sun-block that stays on the skin and is not absorbed into the skin.

So, in order to make things like zinc oxide clear and absorbable, sunscreen companies employ the use nanotechnology. No, I’m not talking Star Trek. Nanotechnology is real. However, when particles are nano-sized, they no longer adhere to the laws of physics that we are familiar with. This allows things that are normally opaque, like zinc oxide, to turn clear. However, it also makes things that normally boil at one temperature boil at a drastically different temperature and cross cellular barriers getting into places they don't belong.

Unfortunately, nanotechnology is so new that the long-term effects of these nano-sized particles on our bodies are unknown. My feeling is, if nature wanted these compounds to be nano-sized, nature would have created them that size in the first place. The safety of nano-sized particles is being looked at worldwide. However, at the moment, products using nanotechnology aren’t required to disclose that on the label. So, beware.

Of course, don’t burn but, by all means, don’t use sunscreens either. Eat properly, get outside when the sun is highest in the sky and gradually increase your exposure to produce your body’s natural sunscreen – a tan.

Okay, so now you’ve been sweating in the sun for just the right amount of time and it’s time to shower, right? Not so fast. Remember, that vitamin D is created when the Dehydrocholesterol produced by your skin is exposed to UVB rays. The result is vitamin D oil that must then be absorbed back into your bloodstream. Studies show that it can take up to 48 hours to absorb all of the vitamin D.

Now, you may not be able to go two days without showering. So, wait as long as possible and then just use soap on the important parts. Rinse the rest of your body with plain water. Because oil and water don’t mix, most of the vitamin D oil will remain on your skin. Pat dry and you’re good to go.

Instead of stripping your body of its natural oils with soap and chlorinated water, leaving your skin dry, causing you to apply lotions containing oils derived from animals, vegetables or petroleum, you will be leaving the oils you produce where they belong? Your skin will be softer, smoother and healthier than ever before.

Less areas to wash also mean shorter showers and shorter showers expose you to less chlorine and save water – added bonuses.

As always, I hope you found this article beneficial and though-provoking. I don’t normally site references but, being this topic is a bit more controversial than most, I thought I’d quote a few. Of course, I invite you to do your own research, as well.

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Eurekalert May 27, 2009

Reuters May 29, 2009

Myerson A, Neustadt R. “Influence of ultraviolet irradiation upon excretion of sex hormones in the male.” Endocrinology 1930

Mikhailov VA. “Influence of graduated sunlight baths on patients with coronary atherosclerosis.” Sovet Med 1966

Kovaleva MP. “The role of ultraviolet and solar irradiations in the complex treatment of hypertension in the beginning stages.” Vop Kurort Fizioter 1973

Altschul R. “Ultraviolet irradiation and cholesterol metabolism.” Arch Phys Med 1955

Altschul R. “Inhibition of experimental cholesterol arteriosclerosis by ultraviolet irradiation.” NEJM 1953; 1974

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