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Wellness Coaching - Getting Your Vitamin D From Sunlight

Recent research has shown that Vitamin D lowers the risk of cancer (including skin cancer) up to 60 percent in men and up to 77 percent in women. It has also been shown to prevent type 1 and type 2 diabetes, reduce inflammation, prevent seasonal affective disorders, help prevent Parkinson's disease, help prevent cardiovascular disease, help prevent autoimmune diseases -- like multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis -- as well as help support brain health. Dr. Al Sears, in his book, "Your Best Health Under the Sun," states, "We are designed, cell by cell, as creatures of the sun....[vitamin D] may be the single most important organic nutrient for your over all health."

But like all vitamins and nutrients, they work in a complex system of interrelationships with each other, and, unfortunately, modern day studies do not take into account all the variables. And this can be problematic. For example, there are two receptors for Vitamin A for every receptor of Vitamin D and an excess of one can create a relative deficiency of the other.

So if you take excessive amounts of vitamin D without vitamin A supplementation, you may be more likely to develop a vitamin A deficiency which could result in immune system dysfunction. Conversely, if you take supplements high in vitamin A (such as cod-liver oil), but low in vitamin D, it could lead to severe vitamin D deficiencies. A recent study in Spain showed that vitamin A is necessary for the vitamin D binding and release to receptor sites. The key is to make sure that both vitamins are balanced in the diet.

There is also some evidence from the Autoimmunity Research Foundation that suggests excessive vitamin D supplementation may suppress the immune system rather than protect against diseases. Because vitamin D is a secosteroid, the case against vitamin D supplementation is supported by the fact that the body regulates the all the production it requires. Professor Trevor Marshall, Ph.D., of Australia's Murdoch University School of Biological Medicine and Biotechnology, says that the "use of vitamin D supplements can be harmful because they suppress the immune system so that the body cannot fight disease infection effectively."

According to the Vitamin D Council, the amount of vitamin D required (measured as 25-hydroxyvitamin D3 in the blood) in order to prevent cancer is around 60 ng/dL. If you have an autoimmune disorder, however, your ability to effectively use vitamin D may be impaired and it is recommended that your requirements be increased to between 80 and 100 ng/dL. It is currently advised that no one exceed 100 to 150 ng/dL because of toxicity concerns. The best solution for obtaining your required levels of vitamin D each day is this: Get the majority of it from the sun and from nutrient-dense roods rather than supplements because it helps to take all the guesswork out it.

But it's important to know that if you apply sunscreen on your skin, you'll also be blocking out the Vitamin D from the sun. So instead of using sunscreen, temper your exposure gradually to the sun. Malignant melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer is directly related to vitamin D deficiency. Furthermore, sunscreen oils are made from toxic and carcinogenic chemicals that block out vitamin D. The best protection against unwanted ultraviolet light is a hat or a good tan. As a species, we've evolved over millions of years to have a nutrient requirement for the sun, including some UV rays. Blocking out the sun can be hazardous to your health.