When I was a child, my sisters and I ALWAYS played outside. We would many times stay outside during the summer all day long and only come back into the house when it was turning dark. Back then, we didn't have cell phones, computers, or cable TV. Basically, we went outside to escape the boredom!
These days, kids stay inside and play on the computer or they watch TV or they play on their phones. I only go outside for any length of time when we are on vacation. I always wonder why I feel so alive and healthy when I am on vacation. It is the SUN and its ability to provide the body with Vitamin D!
I really never thought about Vitamin D (which is actually a hormone) and its effect on my health, until about 5 years ago when my doctor added the Vitamin D (25-hydroxy) test to my bloodwork panel. The results were shocking. The doctor told me I was in a severely deficient range and that I needed to supplement with Vitamin D everyday. At that point, I decided to have my husband and children tested, and they were all severely deficient, also! They needed supplementation immediately to bring their levels into a normal range, too.
We all began to supplement with 2-3 drops (4,000 to 6,000 IU) of Biotics Bio-D-Mulsion Forte. Luckily, the drops are very inexpensive and the bottles last about six months!
After about three months, we all retested and ALL of our Vitamin D levels were brought into an Optimal Range. Now, we retest with our annual bloodwork and continue to stay in range with 2-3 drops daily.
I feel grateful that my doctor discovered this deficiency in me because I learned of how important Vitamin D is to a person's health. So many people are deficient in this vital nutrient. Even if we are in the sun these days, we are wearing sunscreens, which block the Vitamin D. The consequences of low Vitamin D have been linked to numerous cancers, diabetes, alzheimers, heart disease, depression and many many autoimmune disorders!
I always urge my family and friends to get tested by their doctors and to supplement if necessary. Many of them have found out they are also deficient!
Finally, it is important to retest a few months after starting Vitamin D supplementation to find the optimal level for your body. Then, yearly thereafter!
I love the beach, and I love the sun! My husband and I especially love Florida beaches. We feel fortunate to be able to travel there frequently to visit our son in college in Miami.
The sun provides natural Vitamin D which is so important to a person's health (I will discuss the importance of Vitamin D in another article later). However, too much sun really ages the skin and can even cause skin cancer if caution is not taken. I know first hand that this is true as my own father suffered from Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. Fortunately, he found it in time and was able to have it removed.
As for me, all the time in the sun really started to take its toll on my skin. I now always wear a large beach hat when I am in Florida or at the Texas coast (I have beach hats in every color to match whatever I am wearing ) I wear it even if we are going to a grocery store down there, as the sun is very intense near the beach. If I am shopping here in San Antonio at an outside store or doing any gardening outside, I always wear a hat and sunglasses. It is that important to protect your skin and eyes from damage!
Because the hat can only protect so much, I also ALWAYS wear sunscreen, especially on my face, neck and chest (areas that wrinkle quickly).
A few years ago, I was researching sunscreens online and came across several references to skin absorption of creams, sunscreens and cosmetics. I read that the skin absorbs more than 60% of the chemicals that are applied to it!
As I continued to research the type of sunscreen I should wear, I came across a very interesting website of a non-profit consumer advocacy group called Environmental Working Group. This group provides information to the public about many different types of products that we use daily. I immediately input some of my favorite products into their SEARCH box and found out that many of my products were quite dangerous to my health. The group rates products from 1 to 10 with number 1 being safest to use. If you click on the product, they tell you what chemicals are in it, and why they are dangerous. I found that many of the chemicals I was using are linked to cancer or endocrine disorders!
I threw out many of the cosmetics and creams that I had been using for daily skin care and replaced them with healthier alternatives. I also replaced my kids' products with healthier alternatives to keep them safe. The wonderful thing about this website is that I can easily look up a product that I want to buy and see what the risk factor is. I strive to stay 3 or below on the risk scale with the products I use, especially my sunscreens and body creams.
I encourage you to look up some of your products to see the possible impact on your health and/or your loved ones' health. Their website can be found at the following link.
One of my favorite sunscreens is Herbal Choice Mari Face and Body Lotion, SPF 30. It comes in clear or a variety of tinted formulas (which I love the "Dark Honey" to even out my skin tone). The sunscreens below are ALLl considered VERY safe with a risk factor of 1 by the Environmental Working Group Skin Deep Database.