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How the sun is absolutely crucial to your health

How the sun is absolutely crucial to your health
Copyright 2005 Dr Randy Wysong

Fundamental to the Wysong Optimal Health philosophy (link
http://www.wysong.net/PDFs/ohp.pdf) is the fact that we are
integrally linked to our genetic heritage. We are what our
genetics dictate, not what we impose upon ourselves by
modern circumstances we artificially create. This
understanding is a master key to health, a heuristic
foundation for making decisions about food and lifestyle.

Now then, what does this philosophy say about the sun?
Dermatologists tell you to hide from it and modern living
would lead us to believe we can do just fine by living in
caves – offices, homes and automobiles. But our genetic
roots tell us we should be naked and in a climate where we
can be so. That is our origins – and what was the norm for
99.99999999 +% of our history. Should we believe
dermatologists and modern lifestyle or our genes and
history? The answer is obvious but few live by its wisdom.

This discussion of vitamin D will provide incredible and
surprising proof of the Wysong philosophy and give you a
fundamental ingredient for your health success.

Seeing the complexity of vitamin D, even if you don't
understand it, will make the point that our need for
vitamin D is no accident and proves our inextricable link
to nature. (For those not technically savvy, just let your
eyes glaze over during the hard parts and move on. This is
critical information for your health, so stick with it.)
Please see http://www.wysong.net/images/vitamind.jpg

The Sun Vitamin
Vitamin D (actually a hormone) is manufactured in the skin
by the action of ultraviolet light from the sun striking a
precholesterol molecule (7-dehydrocholesterol). This
converted cholesterol molecule (provitamin D) is further
modified (hydroxylated) in the liver and kidney creating
the active 1,25 dihydroxycholecalciferol molecule (1,25
dihydroxy vitamin D3=calcitriol). The UV-B wavelength that
produces vitamin D from the sun (282 nm) does not
significantly penetrate glass. So regardless of windows,
when we are inside we can pretty much figure vitamin D is
not being generated. Clothing of course further seals our
fate as does sun screen with SPF above 8 (reduces vitamin D
production by 95%). Living in the northern half of the
country (even above 30 degrees latitude, the Florida
panhandle) also dooms people to inadequate sun for almost
nine months of the year. If you are dark-skinned you will
need as much as ten times the amount of sun as a fair
skinned person to produce adequate levels of vitamin D.
It’s unnatural enough when fair skinned people live in
latitudes requiring clothes, dark skinned people are really
fish out of water there and suffer severe consequences as a
result.
Food sources of the vitamin include cod liver oil,
sardines, salmon, tuna, mackerel, liver, egg yolk, butter,
dark green vegetables, algae, mushrooms, phytoplankton and
fortified milk. (Plant source vitamin D is the D2 form
known as ergocalciferol [ercalciol] and is not as active as
the animal sources.) But in the main, food sources provide
inadequate levels unless they are eaten raw (the triene
structure in vitamin D is degraded by acid and
light-catalyzed isomerization) and in sufficient quantity –
most of us do not do that. Our by and large hairless bodies
(forcing us to wear unnatural clothes and dwell in
artificially heated environs) and the fact that there is no
negative feedback shutting down production of vitamin D in
the skin, strongly argues that we are intended to be in the
sun, not dependent upon food scientists to fortify milk.

Older folks have decreased ability to synthesize vitamin D
in the skin, have poorer digestive efficiency and decreased
liver and kidney function to convert vitamin D into the
active forms. There is a reason the elderly go south and
feel better doing so. They might not know exactly why other
than not wanting to shovel snow, but ole sol does. Also,
those people with malabsorption problems, Crohn's disease,
cystic fibrosis, pancreatic, liver and kidney disease or
deficiency, or who have had part of the digestive system
removed are at increased risk of vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin D requires precholesterol and is fat soluble and
thus "low fat" diets and "low cholesterol" diets put
elderly people already deficient at even greater peril.

Some forms of artificial light (see Wysong Resource
Directory link
http://wysong.net/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_C
ode=WOTTPWS&Product_Code=MM028&Category_Code=EDUAIDS&Product
_Count=1 ) can produce vitamin D in the skin. Tanning
salons (not recommended because you do not – and neither
does anyone else – really know what you are being exposed
to) can produce vitamin D in the skin if the highest
UV-B:UV-A ratio is used.

As little as 15-30 minutes of skin exposure (as much as you
can bare without getting arrested) to midday sun three
times per week is believed sufficient to meet vitamin D
needs. The vitamin is fat soluble and is stored in the
blood and adipose tissue to create some reserve, but daily
sun-synthesized vitamin D is believed optimal.

Pregnant and nursing moms who do not get out in the sun, or
have an improper diet, are poor sources of vitamin D for
their infants. Not only will the baby's bone health be
affected but just about every other health parameter will
be as well.

The Master Hormone
Vitamin D is arguably the most important hormone in the
entire body. We
are taught in grade school that vitamin D enhances the
absorption of calcium and phosphorus from the intestinal
tract, and that drinking fortified milk will prevent
rickets. But bone health is only a small part of the story.
Research has now accumulated demonstrating that our link to
the sun and the vitamin D it produces touches virtually
every aspect of physiology.

Vitamin D affects:
> Both autocrine and paracrine (in and out) cellular
functions
> Gene expression
> Cell growth
> Immunity
> Energy metabolism
> Muscle strength and coordination
> D receptors which have now been found in the gut, bone,
brain, breast, prostate and lymphocytes
> Neuronal calcium metabolism
> Neurotransmitter production
> Apoptosis (cell death) signaling neoplastic colon, breast
and prostate cells to stop growing
> Inhibition of G1S cell cycle checkpoint and the increased
expression of cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors p21 and
p27 in cancers
> Reduction of C-reactive protein (CRP) and interleukins
(IL-6), markers of inflammation such as in atherosclerosis
(vascular diseases) and arthritic conditions
> Brain development

In short, virtually no aspect of anatomy, physiology and
biochemistry escapes the influence of vitamin D. Our link
to the sun is complete and absolute!

This solves a mystery vexing me for years. When I would go
south in the winter I would undergo an almost miraculous
transformation in health. No sickness, great sleep,
incredible energy and high spirits. I could intensify my
workouts and lift more weight, and on the same day play
two-on-two beach volleyball for hours (not an easy sport
for sure), roller blade miles to the beach and to the
grocery and back carrying 50 lbs. and still do a full day’s
workload of research, reading, writing and exchange with
the office. Back
home all these wonders would reverse. Was it the warmth,
the oxygen-rich air coming off the ocean, the break from
the normal work routine? Well now I know. I am a vitamin
D-hungry guy. Give me enough vitamin D, and I am almost
twice the person I am without
it. You might be too. Read on.

Choices Have Consequences
Ignore Mother Nature and pay the price. We are designed to
be out-of-doors with the skin exposed to the sun. If we
don't do that, one (note, I said just one) of the possible
consequences is vitamin D deficiency. Here are the health
consequences of too little Vitamin D discovered so far –
all documented in the clinical and scientific references
that follow:
> Psoriasis
> Immune suppression/increased infection
> Thyroid dysfunction
> Blood clotting abnormalities
> Rickets
> Osteomalacia
> Osteoporosis
> Deafness
> Insomnia
> Vision loss
> Kidney disease
> Liver disease
> Muscle pain (an early signal of deficiency)
> Schizophrenia, chronic fatigue and depression
> Autism
> Colon, breast, prostate and 14 other cancers (including
melanoma!), following a latitude (vitamin D deficiency)
gradient
> Infertility
> Type I diabetes (insulin dependent)
> Obesity
> Lupus erythematosis
> Grave's disease
> Ankylosing spondylitis
> Bone pain (reduced D decreases calcium absorption, which
stimulates parathyroid hormone, which in turn increases
phosphate excretion in the urine, resulting in decreased
calcium phosphate in collagen in the peri- and endosteum,
resulting in hydration, swelling and bone pain)
> Rheumatoid arthritis
> Muscular sclerosis
> Periodontal disease
> Hypertension
> Cardiovascular disease (increases in winter and higher
latitude)
> Decreased glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity

I'm sure that only begins the list. Since vitamin D affects
everything, you can pretty well figure that if you are ill
or not feeling well it is related to vitamin D deficiency
at least in part because well over 95% of the population in
the U.S. is deficient.

Toxicity
Let me preface this section as I do every topic where I
address toxicity. Anything can be toxic, even water and
oxygen, in sufficient dose. The dose makes the poison.

If you are worried about getting cancer from the sun, put
your thinking cap on. Believe nature before you believe a
dermatologist. Certainly don't get sunburned. Evidence
suggests that cancer may be related to those who get sun
burned and are vitamin D deficient to begin. Don't stay in
the sun longer than you should because you have SPF 460
slathered on. Acclimatize to the sun. Wear clothes. Protect
skin that cannot be covered with nontoxic sun blocks
(Wysong Reflector™).

With regard to melanoma, consider that the most common
places for it to appear are on the backs of men and inner
thighs of women. Not on the back of the hands and the face
which are most exposed to the sun. Melanoma does not
decrease with the use of sunscreen. Some studies show that
increased sun exposure actually decreases the risk of
melanoma.

No, the sun is not toxic; it is life and health-giving in
appropriate dose.

There has never been a report of Vitamin D toxicity from
sun exposure. So that is the best and safest source. But
not everyone can get enough sun so supplements are the next
best thing. It is possible to get too much but the margin
of safety is immense. The government has set the minimum
standard at 400 IU per day. But a person would need to take
42,000 capsules containing 1000 IU each to have a 50%
chance of dying if he were as sensitive to vitamin D as the
most sensitive animal studied. One man got sick from taking
156,000 IU per day for two years and recovered. One
researcher, tired of all the naysayers claiming Vitamin D
is so toxic, offered a reward to anyone who could show any
toxicity whatsoever to vitamin D at 40,000 units per day.
No takers so far.

With that said, certain conditions could increase the risk
of toxicity. This would include those with Williams
Syndrome (a genetic defect in vitamin D metabolism),
sarcoidosis, hyperparathyroidism, some cancers, adrenal
insufficiency and people on certain drugs such as thiazide
diuretics. Symptoms of overdosage include vomiting,
nausea, diarrhea, constipation, polyuria (increased
urination), polydypsia (increased thirst), nervousness,
confusion, pruritis, calcinosis (deposition of calcium in
tissues) and arrhythmia. Most cases involved those who were
taking more than 50,000 IU per day for years. In infants
10,000 IU per day for 4 months and 200,000 IU per day for
two weeks has caused toxicity. Why adults would be
receiving such large doses is beyond me.
Remember, the government standard is 400 IU per day.

If concerned about toxicity of oral supplements, consult
with a nutritionally savvy physician. Blood tests that
measure vitamin D, calcium and the parathyroid are useful
for this purpose. Ideal levels for calcitriol
(25-hydroxyvitamin D) range between 30-50 ng/ml depending
on the expert. It is known that less than 35 ng/ml will
decrease the rate of calcium absorption from the gut so at
that level you are questionably deficient. Sunshine alone
can cause blood levels of 80 ng/ml. People who work outside
or live by the equator have about 50 ng/ml. So I would
doubt those laboratories that say levels as low as 8 ng/ml
are "normal." If serum calcium is measured above the normal
range of 8.5-10.5 mg/dl, particularly in the above-12 age
group, this may indicate vitamin D toxicity as well.

I hate to give you the impression that health is achieved
by the numbers so to speak. No laboratory ever denies nor
proves good health when the body tells you contrary. But I
would be remiss in not mentioning the caveats here and the
means you can use to be more certain where you stand. My
feeling – in the absence of some weird medical or genetic
circumstance – is that if you are not getting out in the
sun almost daily and not eating appropriate vitamin D-rich
foods or taking supplements, you are at high risk for the
myriad diseases that can result.

Supplementation
Opinions vary on oral supplemental doses of vitamin D. The
government has recently ratcheted up recommendations from
the previous 40 IU to 200 IU for those less than 50 years
of age, 400 IU for those over 50 and 600 IU for those over
70. That's the most conservative. Those most knowledgeable
in the field say 1000 IU per day for infants and 2000 IU
per day for adults with no lab tests and no sun. Next in
line are those who say 3000-5000 IU per day (6-10,000 of
plant form vitamin D2, ergocalciferol) for adults is best,
4000 IU being the most common dose I see suggested. Keep in
mind that young whites get about 20,000 IU from a few
minutes of full body sun exposure. Some practitioners get
aggressive and give what are known as Stoss dosages of
100,000 IU every 4 months in the elderly, to prevent
osteoporosis for example.

Cod liver oil is the most concentrated natural source of
vitamin D. One tablespoon contains about 1200 IU. Finding
that difficult to consume in order to achieve 4000 IU per
day and lacking certainty as to the purity and stability of
commercial products, we developed our own concentrated
supplement tested free of mercury and other organic toxins,
mixed with omega-3 fish and flax seed oils, GLA containing
borage oil, all properly stabilized with Wysong Oxherphol™
antioxidant. That is what I now take during the fall,
winter and early spring when I cannot get the best vitamin
D source of all, the sun.

Regulatory agencies governing pet foods set the minimum at
500 IU/Kg of food on a dry matter basis and the upper limit
at 5000 IU (i.e. if your pet eats 1 pound of dry food per
day it should get approximately 250 - 2500 IU of vitamin D
per day, conservatively). Since you cannot know for sure
what is in a commercial pet food
(http://www.wysong.netdontbefooled.shtml), don't be fooled,
the rotation advised in the Optimal Health Program ™ is
advised. At least periodically (3 times per week)
giving1000 IU capsules (may be opened and mixed with food)
is a good insurance policy.

What you do about vitamin D is unlike what you might do
about other supplements. This is something you should take
very seriously since vitamin D status is, so-to-speak, a
marker for how well we are living in tune with nature.
Living in tune with nature and according to the way we are
genetically designed is fundamental to the Wysong health
philosophy I continually preach. Low vitamin D means you
are doing things wrong. Like the little canaries in the
cages miners would take with them down into the caves to
signal by their death that toxic air was present and the
miners better skedaddle out of there, our illnesses are the
warning signs in more cases than we have previously
imagined that we are not living right. Our cave-like modern
living is a bane to good health.

The solution is to return to our roots. Roots firmly
planted where our health can flower in the sun.


----------------------------------------------------
Dr. Wysong is a former veterinary clinician and surgeon,
college instructor in human anatomy, physiology and the
origin of life, inventor of numerous medical, surgical,
nutritional, athletic and fitness products and devices,
research director for the present company by his name and
founder of the philanthropic Wysong Institute. He is
author of The Creation-Evolution Controversy now in its
eleventh printing, a new two volume set on philosophy for
living, several books on nutrition, prevention and health
for people and animals and over 15 years of monthly health
newsletters. He may be contacted at Wysong@Wysong.net and a
free subscription to his e-Health Letter is available at
http://www.wysong.net.

 

 
 
 
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