By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness
January 13, 2020
I recently made a visit to my dermatologist. Sitting in the exam room, she remarked, “Oh, you’ve got some color there.”
“Yeah,” I replied with a grin. “I’m working on my tan.”
What came next was a lecture on the dangers of spending too much time in the sun.
Now, I should clarify a few things. When I say I like to “work on my tan,” I like to head out to my nearby Florida beach (or backyard) early in the morning when the sun is still low in the sky.
It’s the same way the Brazilian models do it down in South Beach. We head out around 9 or 9:30 in the morning and spend just 30-45 minutes basking in the sun’s rays.
So, I get my sunshine. But I’m not getting the damaging ultra-violet rays that would be present later in the day.
You may be surprised to learn about a new school of thought when it comes to healthy sun exposure.
For a long time, doctors have urged their patients to avoid the sun in order to prevent skin cancer.
Now, if you’re worried about skin cancer, there’s a good chance you slather yourself with sunscreen each summer and huddle in the shade every time you go outdoors.
But here’s the thing…
Today, we’re finding people who sunbathe regularly live longer than folks who hide from the sun. They’re also less likely to experience heart problems, cancer and other age-related diseases.
Avoiding the Sun is as Bad as Smoking
Here’s a real eye-opener. Scientists are now saying that avoiding the sun is a risk factor for several major causes of death.
In fact, it turns out that staying out of the sun is just as bad as smoking. People who don’t smoke in middle age – but avoid the sun – have about the same life expectancy as smokers who get the most sun exposure.
However, in later years, smokers who enjoy the sun actually have a greater life expectancy than their non-smoking, non-sun-loving counterparts. They gain about two extra years of life.
None of this is news to me. That’s because I’ve reviewed mountains of solid, high-quality evidence that shows getting out in the sun is much more protective than it is damaging.
For example, sunlight increases the levels of nitric oxide (NO) in your skin and blood. This compound lowers blood pressure and is absolutely crucial to ensure blood flow to your heart, brain and other organs.
This is likely the reason sun-lovers have lower rates of heart disease.
Additionally, regular sun exposure reduces your risk of skin, breast and prostate cancers – along with a very long list of other cancers.
Plus, sunshine is the best source of vitamin D on Earth. And if you’re afraid of getting out into the sun, you have a three out of four chances of being deficient in this nutrient.
A shortage of vitamin D could increase your risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s by more than 50%. It messes with your insulin, blood sugar and hunger hormones – so low vitamin D levels can cause you to pack on the pounds. Deficiency is also strongly linked to depression.
In fact, vitamin D as a pro-hormone and in conjunction with activating vitamin D receptors (VDR) in your cells, ultimately has controlling effects on hundreds of genes.
How to Get Out in the Sun Without Burning
With all of this in mind, it makes sense to stop hiding from the sun.
But this doesn’t mean you should suddenly start spending hours outside without any protection at all. After all, your skin is probably pretty delicate if you don’t normally sunbathe. And the last thing you want to do is get a sunburn or sun poisoning.
However, there are a few natural ways to protect your skin from UV rays.
First off, do like I do and choose the right time of day to enjoy the sun’s rays. Mornings or later afternoons are much better than midday when the sun is directly overhead.
Next, you might try a natural carotene pigment found in marine algae called astaxanthin
Taking 4 mg of astaxanthin daily for about two weeks before sun exposure can give you more time outdoors without burning. It also protects your skin from DNA damage and reduces signs of aging caused by overexposure to the sun. I personally get my astaxanthin along with zeaxanthin in my eye support blend called Eagle Eye.
Another great choice is In fact, vitamin D as a pro-hormone and in conjunction with activating vitamin D receptors (VDR) in your cells, ultimately has controlling effects on hundreds of genes. This is a superoxide dismutase (SOD) formula that allows you to spend more time in the sun without turning red. And if you do burn, it can help reduce redness faster and allow you to recover more quickly.
Start taking about 500 mg. of GliSODin daily for four weeks prior to sun exposure.
Now, the amount of sun protection these nutrients provide depends on the individual. So until you know how they’re going to work for you, keep a close eye on your skin. If it looks like you’re going to burn, there’s no shame in taking cover in the shade.
Remember the sages though from the 1960’s who reminded us all that “Here comes the sun, and I say… it’s alright.”
Lindqvist, PG et al. Avoidance of sun exposure as a risk factor for major causes of death: a competing risk analysis of the Melanoma in Southern Sweden cohort. Jnl Int Med. First published online Mar 2016.
Here comes the sun to lower your blood pressure. Univ of Southampton. News Release, Jan 2014.
van der Rhee H, et al. Is prevention of cancer by sun exposure more than just the effect of vitamin D? A systematic review of epidemiological studies. Eur J Cancer. 2013 Apr;49(6):1422-36. Epub 2012 Dec 10.
Grant WB. Ecological studies of the UVB-vitamin D-cancer hypothesis. Anticancer Res. 2012 Jan;32(1):223-36.
Littlejohns TJ, et al. “Vitamin D and the risk of dementia and Alzheimer disease.” Neurology. 2014 Sep 2;83(10):920-8.