This is my idea of summer. Sand, water, sun and the time to relax and enjoy it. I’m a sun worshiper at heart. I gauge a successful summer by my tan line. Most summers I fail, but I do have some good weeks. I do not buy into the myth of sun exposure.
My heritage is Native American, I have a lot of melanin in my skin, I tan easily, rarely burn (with the exception of the first of the season) and I just feel better when I’ve had some natural vitamin D exposure. No, I do not do cloudy winters well at all, I’ll leave that to those with European heritage
Myth About Sun Dangers
I honestly believe (based on the New World, Old World monkey vitamin D research requirements) that certain people require more exposure to sun to stay healthy, and sane. New World Monkeys (Tamarins and marmosets) lived in the tree tops, with more exposure to the sun and need more vitamin D supplementation than the Old World Monkeys (macaques, and baboons), who live primarily on the forest floor.
I believe the same thing happens in humans. People who are from areas of the world that receive more sun exposure have adapted to physiological nutritional needs according to their environment. The color of the skin is a prime example. People who tan easily normally have Mediterranean ancestry (Italians, Greeks, Middle Eastern) or Native People ancestry such as Native American, Eskimos, aboriginal descent and commonly have vitamin D deficiency and seasonal affective disorder.
This past winter my daughter was diagnosed with severe vitamin D deficiency, she is dark skinned like me and suffered through various health issues this past winter. She was also living on her own for the first time and I’m sure her diet and nutrition wasn’t the best.
Her vitamin D serum test result was 20 ng/ml which is extremely low. She is now taking Vitamin D supplements, but has increased her sun exposure.
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Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency
Here are a few signs and symptoms of vitamin D deficiency, check with you doctor before self diagnosis, but if you have dark skin, get depressed during the winter months and feel better during the summer it’s something to consider
- Wintertime depression
- Sweaty head
- Bones aches
- Overall tired and achy (fibromyalgia, fatigue syndrome??)
- GI issues, trouble digesting food (mimics gluten sensitivity)
This last symptom, stomach issues is actually quite interesting. Diseases such as Crohn’s, celiac and non-celiac gluten sensitivity, and inflammatory bowel disease “may” be in part to a Vitamin D deficiency.
Benefits of Vitamin D
Get some Vitamin D in your system, kick the kids outside to play, go for a walk in the sun and DON’T use sunscreen. Vitamin D boosts the immune system, helps ward off colds and infections, and is important in heart health.
- Increased heart health
- Boosts immune system (autoimmune diseases)
- Fights bacterial and viral infections
- Helps prevent colds and influenza
- Helps prevent and fight cancer
The Northern Europeans had limited exposure to sunlight and did not need melanin as skin protection. Think about it,..yeah, makes sense.
So with that I’m out to enjoy my Nebraska sun at the only beach within driving distance. Louisville Recreation area, where I can lay on the beach, listen to good music, and take a dip in the water when I get too hot. Perfect. If only it were an ocean beach, oh that’s right, I wish I could be sitting on Block Island right now!
Have Fun in the Sun Again
So everyone enjoy your summer and if you enjoy the sun, and feel like you need it, then you probably do. If you’re pale and freckled, douse with sun screen and take precautions. But don’t hate on us sun worshipers, it’s in our genes.
More Information About Vitamin D