THE SUN AND YOUR HEALTH
by Dr. Lawrence Wilson
© November 2020, L.D. Wilson Consultants, Inc.
All information in this article is for educational purposes only. It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition.
This article discusses vitamin D, sunbathing, suntan lotions, sunburn, sunglasses, tanning beds, and the sun as a nutrient.
The most important point of this article is that the sun today cannot be counted upon to provide enough vitamin D for anyone, no matter where you live and no matter how much time you spend in the sun. As a result, everyone over age 5 or so needs EITHER:
1. A vitamin D supplement (about 5000 iu daily for adults and less for children) OR
2. Eat 3-4 cans of sardines weekly for adults, and somewhat less for children. I do not suggest eating more than four 4-ounce cans of sardines weekly.
Other notes on vitamin D.
1. Do not take both the vitamin D supplement and the sardines. It is too much vitamin D. Do one or the other.
2. Children under age 5 or so usually do not need extra vitamin D from either a supplement or from sardines. However, some sardines are fine for a young child.
3. One could eat salmon or tunafish to provide vitamin D. However, I do not recommend these fish because they contain too much mercury. Sardines are much better.
4. Any brand of sardines is fine. Boneless sardines have the least mercury, and I think they are the best for this reason.
5. Raw dairy products contain some vitamin D, but the amount is variable, so I would not trust this source of vitamin D.
6. Vitamin D supplements are either made from fish oil, or another good one is made from lanolin. This is an oily substance in the skin of sheep and some other animals. Removing some lanolin does not harm the animal at all. Rarely, if a person cannot take these, there is a prescription form of vitamin D, called vitamin D2. It is not nearly as good as standard, natural vitamin D, also called vitamin D3. However, it will help prevent cancer, diabetes and a host of other health problems.
7. Recently, I have found that some brands of vitamin D supplements are not working well enough, even if the vitamin D blood test indicates it does. I would avoid the emulsified vitamin D supplements. I suggest the Endomet brand (from lanolin).
I do not recommend spending more than about half an hour in the sun per day. The dangers of tanning, especially using tanning beds, include skin cancers, burning of the skin or keratoses, aging of the skin, dehydration, cataracts if you look at the sun, and more.
If you wish to be outside on the beach, for example, bring an umbrella or at least a very large hat and keep the body covered up so that the sun does not just strike the skin for more than about half an hour. The time you spend in the water, and walking to and from the water, is plenty of sun for most people. This is all the more true if you are fair-skinned. Dark-skinned people can spend a little more time in the sun safely, but not more than one hour.
Also, try to avoid going to the beach at the height of the day. The sun is much stronger at that time. Try to go earlier in the morning or later in the afternoon. For example, if you go at 9 AM, you can probably safely spend an hour in the sun, but no more.
Using a near infrared light sauna, by the way, is nothing like tanning. It does not cause a tan because the lamps do not produce much ultraviolet rays, and those it produces are supposed to be filtered out by the reddish coloring of the glass or coating on the bulb. This is just one reason I only recommend the reddish heat lamps at this time. After a lamp sauna session, the skin may become reddened for about an hour or so. However, this is not a sun tan and it goes away quickly. It is possible to burn the skin, but difficult to do, with a lamp sauna.
Appropriate clothing for outdoors. Ladies, particularly, and men who like muscle shirts, cover up your shoulders at all times if you live in a warm climate and will be outdoors for any reason for more than about half an hour. Not only is it more modest to cover up the shoulders, but it will protect them from the sun, which often strikes the shoulders if you are playing sports outside, walking the dog, or just out and about in the sun for any length of time.
Long pants are less important, though they are much more modest for women, and highly recommended at all times. Long-sleeved shirts and blouses are also recommended in the summer, but are not as critical as covering the shoulders and avoiding all sleeveless dresses and tops.
SUN TAN LOTIONS AND CREAMS
Most of these should be avoided. Most of these lotions and creams are horrible concoctions of artificial chemical odors, chemical UV blockers, and plenty of additives and preservatives. They are almost as dangerous as getting a sun burn, and maybe worse if you use them often.
The latest horror in sun tanning lotions and creams is to use nano-particles of zinc or titanium in sun tan lotions. These are ALL TOXIC. Please stay away from all sun tan lotions, as they all are going to this “latest, greatest technology”. The problem is the nano-particles, which just means very small, are much more easily absorbed into the body through the skin, and go to the liver and elsewhere causing toxicity to one degree or another.
Sun tanning lotions can be worse than sun exposure without the lotion. They can contribute to cancer, wreck havoc with your hormones, and disrupt your thyroid gland, according to medical studies.
If you need a sun tanning lotion or cream, the simplest is a little plain old zinc oxide ointment from the drugstore. It is greasy, so it stays on the skin well, even if you go swimming. It might be good for a child who is playing sports out of doors, for example, on the nose and face, or if you will be out on a boat, for example, where there is very little protection from the sun. Be sure to wear long sleeves and long pants in these situations, however, as the sun exposure can be intense.
IF YOU MUST BE OUT IN THE SUN FOR A LONG TIME
Studies indicate that vitamin A, also called pre-formed vitamin A, and not beta carotene, can help reduce the damage from sun exposure. One must take a lot, however, about 50,000 iu daily for a few days before your sun exposure. This might be a wise idea if, for example, you are going on a vacation to a warm place and you know you will be outdoors and perhaps not totally in control of your schedule.
Fifty thousand units daily is a lot of vitamin A, and one can overdo on this vitamin! Particularly if you are pregnant, not only should you avoid the sun for more than half an hour daily, but you should also limit vitamin A intake from any source to about 20,000 iu daily. Too much can cause birth defects.
Vitamin A is also found naturally in foods. These include fish oils, raw dairy products, meats, and eggs. Dark green and other colored vegetables also contain carotenes. These are pigments that the body may be able to convert into vitamin A, although many people cannot convert them well enough, so do not count on vegetables and fruits to obtain vitamin A.
In all cases, however, an excellent diet with mostly cooked vegetables, not raw ones, will help protect you a little from sun damage, and enable the body to recover better.
IF YOU GET A SUNBURN
If you are out too long in the sun, vitamin A is helpful to heal the skin, as is aloe vera gel, which is applied directly to the area and some can be taken internally as well. Before drinking or eating some, however, take a little taste. Some brands will be okay. Others will be very bitter and cannot be taken by mouth. The bitter type is better on the skin, by the way, than the non-bitter ones. The bitter taste comes from a substance in the outer part of the pulp of the plant that is designed to keep insects and other pests from eating the plant. It works, if you have ever tried eating the outer part of the pulp!
To reverse some sun damage, daily sessions in a near infrared lamp sauna – not other types of saunas such as FIR or far infrared – may also help. A nutritional balancing program includes this procedures, along with others that may help as well. To read more about this, read Introduction To Nutritional Balancing Science.
SUNGLASSES – SHOULD YOU WEAR THEM?
The answer is generally, NO. First, you should not need them if you are staying out of the direct sun. Secondly, they block important light rays from reaching the eyes, so they are not advisable – none of them! Third, if you eat correctly and get plenty of vitamin A, D, E, zinc, selenium and anti-oxidants in your diet, your eyes will become less sensitive to the sun. In other words, if your eyes are very sensitive to the sun, or too dry, or form tears too easily, you are probably malnourished and out of balance, and perhaps have a very toxic liver – and need a nutritional balancing program.
In a few cases, such as when driving on a very sunny day for hours, your eyes may become tired from sun exposure. In this case, a pair of sunglasses can be used, but only when needed. Other situations would be if you are outside in the snow, such as skiing or ice-skating. These are both dangerous sports and not recommended at all. However, the glare of the sun on the snow and ice may require sunglasses in such situations. Another possible situation is if you are out on a boat on a lake, for example, for hours, the glare of the sun can also be intense. Definitely wear a hat and long sleeves, and some people may need sun glasses in this situation as well. If possible, avoid these situations.
There is rarely a need for any surgery or even biopsies if you think you may have skin cancers. Instead, at the first indication, such as an ulcerated lesion on the skin that is not healing, or a dark mole, or a mole that is turning darker or developing a ridge around the edge, immediately take action.
Two remedies that I am aware of that both work well are:
1. The eggplant cure. This is a product called Curaderm BEC5. This is not a prescription drug at this time, and should not be! It is not toxic at all, but is able to get rid of many skin cancers. If you skin lesion is not cancer, it may still work to remove it. It is an eggplant extract that, I am told, has been used successfully in over 80,000 cases.
2. Black salve. This is an ancient Native American remedy that contains bloodroot and a few other herbs. It is quite an amazing remedy for skin cancers of all types, and some pre-cancerous and fungal skin problems as well. It can even be taken internally for cancer with a lot of effectiveness, in some cases. Only take a pea-sized piece by mouth once a week, at the most, as it is irritating to the stomach.
Every household should have some black salve, and you should check each other’s skin once a year, or so, removing any and all suspicious moles or other lesions. Not only will you become more beautiful, but you will completely avoid the unnecessary and sometimes disfiguring surgery that often occurs with skin cancer if you go to a medical doctor for it.
Please do not use these. There is much more skin cancer today due to the use of tanning beds. I know they make one look sexy, but they expose a person to even more concentrated ultraviolet rays than sitting in the sun, at times.
THE SUN AS A NUTRIENT
In fact, vitamin D is not the only reason people spend time in the sun. The sun has a relaxing, warming effect on the body that many people enjoy. It also soothes many skin ailments, and can kill some of them. In former years, for example, the accepted treatment for tuberculosis was to spend time in a sanitarium, which was a hotel-like place where the guests were required to spend time in the sun with just a little bathing suit on, each and every day. Over time, the lungs would heal, when the sunbathing was combined with a healthful diet and healthful drinking water, and a low-stress life. No doubt, the extra vitamin D helped. However, other frequencies from the sun such as infrared and many others, may have helped as well. This is a topic of research and beyond the scope of this short article.
To use the sun as a nutrient, spend up to 30 minutes, and not more, in the sun on sunny days. This is all you need to do today. Do not ever spend hours in the sun, as the damage far outweighs the benefits.
Sunning the eyes. In fact, a little sun in the eyes is also very good. This is one reason not to wear sunglasses, which are not recommended. A standard eye exercise which is part of the Bates Method of vision care is to sun the eyes. The way to do this is to sit or stand comfortably, close your eyes, and then look at the sun. This is usually perfectly safe. Then slowly move your head back and forth so that the sun reaches into all parts of the eyes. You can usually feel this on the eyes, and it feels soothing and healing. Do this for no more than 15 minutes or so, a few times a week. It may help strengthen and heal the eyes. It is not, however, a substitute for proper diet, proper drinking water and the other methods of healing the body discussed on this website. However, it can help.
So do not be afraid of the sun, but just use caution.
For more information about skin diseases, read Skin Conditions on this website.