The Sun, Friend or Foe?

 

 

 

 

 

 

As a child, Christmas was a strange time for me. I spent months looking forward to getting that very special present. Asking, begging,  pleading for it. Yet after the excitement of tearing off the wrapping paper to expose that wonderful computer game I’d always dreamed of, by the time it came to the Queens speech, at 3pm, I was bored with it and didn’t want it any more. This brings me onto this very seasonal topic because in many ways this is exactly how we treat the Sun. We spend the cold, dark winter months yearning for the bright warm sunshine but as soon as it arrives, we do all we can to avoid it. We stay in the shade, wear large hats and cover ourselves head to toe with factor 100 sun cream just incase one of those sunrays gets through to our skin. Why do we do this?

The obvious answer is that we are all afraid of getting skin cancer. This is, naturally, a real concern we must take the necessary precautions with sunscreen. The question is, are we hurting ourselves by trying to help ourselves? The answer is an emphatic YES!

 

The sun does much more than give us light and keep us warm. It’s one of the most powerful health tools known to mankind.

As the suns rays hit our skin they convert the cholesterol from our cells into Vitamin D that alone is a miracle. To be able to convert cholesterol (which many of us have in excess and is a chief factor in Britain’s No.1 killer heart disease) into such a useful vitamin is truly amazing.

The story does not stop there. Vitamin D is then activated by the kidneys and  goes on to do even more acts of healing. It is able to regulate our immune system, that means it activates and helps to produce more Natural Killer cells. These cells, despite their name, are actually very good for us. They kill off cells that cause infections, and are able to detect and destroy any CANCER cells present in the body. So the more active these cells are the less chance you have of getting cancer!

Studies prove that Vitamin D reduces our cancer risk by 50% especially Prostate, Bowel & Breast cancer. As well as activating the “Good immune” (Natural Killer) cells Vitamin D inactivates the “Bad immune” cells that attack us. They produce antibodies that attack joints to cause Arthritis, nerves causing Multiple Sclerosis, the pancreas causing Type-1 Diabetes our thyroid gland to cause thyroid disease and multiple organs in the case of Lupus.

Vitamin D is able to switch off these cells and therefore halt the diseases. Evidence shows that these diseases are less common or non-existent in countries close to or on the equator. The further you get from the equator, the higher the risk of disease, also the darker our skin, the greater the risk.

Vitamin D is important in building healthy bones too. In Britain, because of the lack of exposure to the sun by children, Rickets the soft bone disease is returning. Vitamin D is essential for the absorption of calcium to make strong bones, also vital for adults to prevent Osteoporosis

Given all of this evidence it is important that we get out in the sun. 20-30 minutes 4 times per week wearing a T-shirt is enough after that put on your sun cream. Vitamin D levels last 60 days in our bodies so during the months between November and February taking Vitamin D3 supplements 1000-4000 units is advised. 90% of our Vitamin D comes from the sun but some food contains it:

Soymilk/ Soybeans

Cereal

Salmon

The Sun is truly our God-given friend, but just like all of our friends we must treat it with respect.

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