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You Need Sun! 10 Healthy Tips to Get It

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What is Vitamin D and how much do you need?
Although called a vitamin, it is not. Vitamin D is in a class by itself, behaving more like a hormone. It is made in the skin, gets into your bloodstream and then goes into the liver and the kidney where it becomes activated as a key steroid hormone called Calcitriol. It then goes to the intestines, bones and other tissues, effecting metabolic pathways and the expression of myriad genes.

Vitamin D’s active form can interact with almost every cell in the body directly or indirectly, targeting up to two thousand genes, or about six percent of the human genome. It is necessary for numerous cellular functions, and when the body does not have what it needs to function optimally, it follows that we experience a decline in health and put ourselves at risk of disease. We now know that almost every cell and tissue in our body has vitamin D receptors, which raises the question: Why would those receptors be there if they weren’t meant to have an effect?

Our vitamin D needs vary with age, body weight, percent of body fat, latitude, skin coloration, season of the year, use of sun block, individual reactions to sun exposure, and our overall health. As a general rule, older people need more vitamin D than younger people, large people need more that small people, fat people need more than skinny people, northern people need more than southern people, dark-skinned people need more than fair skinned people, winter people need more than summer people, sun-phobes need more than sun worshipers, and ill people may need more than well people.

The best way to determine whether or not you are deficient is to have your vitamin D blood levels measured and replenish accordingly.

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Read more: Diet & Nutrition, Eating for Health, General Health, Health, Holistic Beauty, Revive with Dr. Frank Lipman, Skin Care, ,

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Dr. Frank Lipman

Founder and director of the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in New York City, Dr Frank Lipman is a pioneer and internationally recognized expert in the fields of Integrative and Functional Medicine. His personal brand of healing has helped thousands of people reclaim their vitality and recover their zest of life. To hang with Frank, visit his blog, follow him on Twitter or join his Facebook community today.

106 comments

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5:09PM PDT on Jun 17, 2014

Moderation is key. Thanks for the post.

6:09AM PDT on Jun 9, 2013

continued...

However, I completely agree with everything else Dr. Lipman writes, especially since he prefers sunbathing to supplements and I am incredibly happy that I get to live in beautiful, sunny Greece, where I can get all the sunshine I need on a year-round basis.

5:52AM PDT on Jun 9, 2013

Bringing our ancestors relationship with the sun into the discussion is a huge oversimplification, as well. For one thing, humans lived a LOT less back then (their life expectancy was shockingly small, by today's standards -- a 30-year-old Neaderthal was *really really* old), which made it extremely difficult for them to develop any kind of cancer (a disease that takes notoriously long to manifest). For another, there was no ozone layer hole back then, so the sun was indeed much less harmful than it is in our times.

9:32AM PDT on May 22, 2011

thanks! i love when health science meets what should be common sense.. and what only seems logical. me natural. sun natural. building and sunscreen manmade.

lately i've been lying out in the sun often (for vitamin D) and then - go figure - my depression lifted and i started sleeping better. i say avoid the sun at its harshest (indoors or find a shady tree) and by all means avoid sunburns (even if it's for no other reason than that, ouch! it hurts) but definitely get sunshine!!

4:14PM PDT on May 21, 2011

Thanks

6:08AM PDT on Mar 24, 2011

Gracias!

4:43AM PST on Jan 11, 2011

Also, it's great that some people don't burn and have good metabolisms, but this simply doesn't apply to everyone: I have friends who are very healthy apart from their sun allergies; they cannot wear short sleeves in the summer and should they walk around with no sunscreen they end up severely burnt or worse in a matter of 15-20 minutes...

4:40AM PST on Jan 11, 2011

Very interesting, but I don't think it applies where I leave: people get too much sun rather than too little and spend hours sunbathing with no lotion or very weak filters, because higher than 8/12 tend to be very expensive.

9:53PM PST on Jan 7, 2011

This was a great article. I've always hated wearing sunscreen (it feels gross on the skin, particularly when mixed with perspiration and salt water!) but love being in the sun.
I've read brazil nuts are supposed to be a great antidote for over exposure and can help reduce the risk of skin cancer. Is this true?

12:26AM PDT on Oct 29, 2010

Thank you very much for this insightful article! I always try to spend at least 60 minutes outside each day - especially in the less sunny months - and try to replenish possible Vitamin D shortages with healthy Vitamin-D-rich foods :)

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