November 26, 2017, Information
Recently on the ABC news I heard, “Doctors say Australian’s aren’t getting enough sunshine”. I was stunned because it was the first time I’d heard this in the mainstream media. Since the mid 80’s the media, in conjunction with the Cancer Council, have been telling us to stay out of the sun altogether or slather on highly toxic sunscreen to avoid even a single photon of sunshine getting onto our skin.
Fast forward 30 years and the damage of extremely low Vitamin D levels in the Australian population is proving to be a major health issue. The truth is, we are designed to be in the sun and appropriate sun exposure is essential for disease prevention and optimal wellbeing.
Furthermore every person needs a different amount of sunlight to produce Vitamin D. People with fair skin need less sun than darker skinned people to stimulate production of Vitamin D.
It’s been known for a long time that vitamin D is required for the proper absorption of calcium to build healthy bones. But more recently, low Vitamin D levels have been linked with serious health problems including high blood pressure, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, infertility, breast, bowel and prostate cancer.
There have also been multiple studies showing links between Vitamin D and digestive health. In 2010 scientists found that Vitamin D regulates the function of gut bacteria. Jun Sun Ph.D., a microbiologist at the University of Rochester Medical Centre found that, “Vitamin D deficiency is a known factor in the pathology of inflammatory bowel disease and colon cancer”.
This study can be seen in the American Journal of Pathology. Every cell in the body has a Vitamin D receptor, including gut bacteria, which suggests that conditions such as IBS, Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis may respond positively to optimal Vitamin D levels.
In “Vitamin D3 Miracle”, Jeff Bowles says, “Almost all obese people are deficient in Vitamin D”. Conditions such as diabetes and metabolic syndrome are brought on by what he calls, the Human Hibernation Syndrome. In this syndrome, low levels of sunlight and the resulting drop in Vitamin D triggers the human body, just like animals, to go into a period of hibernation.
His theory suggests, if we are not getting enough sun the body thinks it’s Winter and to protect against potential famine, slows down our metabolic rate. He has a point. In Winter it is normal to slow down, stay inside and eat more but if we’re not getting enough sun in Summer our body still thinks it’s Winter, keeping us in a metabolic famine period and conserving fat.
On the flip side, if we are exposed to adequate amounts of sunlight during the warmer months, our body naturally boosts the metabolism and increases our energy, enabling us to get out and enjoy the abundance of the Summertime.