Out of the thousands of people I've worked with over the years no deficiency is more prevalent than the Vitamin D deficiency. Each day someone would come with a prescription from their doctor for Vitamin D3. The deficiency was said to be the cause of everything from their long-term depression, to a skin rash, to their bone health. Their doctors had one thing right; these were all the results of a Vitamin D deficiency, however prescribing more D3 was not, and is not, addressing the problem at its source. So, I have decided to write about the three S's that cause this widespread deficiency in D. This may not be the appropriate season, but at least we can all prepare for next year. They are:
To better understand how these cause the deficiency, let us review how Vitamin D absorption works. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, meaning it needs fat to convert it into D3. We get Vitamin D, for free, from our beautiful Sun. The Sun hits our skin and the fat, particularly cholesterol, in our skin begins to absorb the D from the Sun and converts it into D3 in about 48-72 hours.
That's Vitamin D absorption in a nutshell. Now, how does that apply to the three S's? Well, statins are cholesterol inhibiting drugs. They keep a section in the liver from creating cholesterol, as well as CoQ10 and dozens of other antioxidants vital for living, which in turn lowers the cholesterol content in the skin. Without that fatty cholesterol in the skin Vitamin D cannot be converted into D3, leaving us deficient. If you are on statins, I strongly recommend you work with a holistic practitioner to reverse the high cholesterol with food instead of drugs. Up to 60% of our cholesterol is made by our very own liver. Removing dietary cholesterol is the first step to lowering our cholesterol levels. Statins compromise the liver, weaken the muscles, keep us from absorbing nutrients, and can leave long-term damage to the body.
Sunscreen can be necessary to keep the skin from being damaged. This is especially true if you're fair-skinned and spending a long time in the Sun after months of no exposure. Ease into the sun slowly as we progress from Spring to Summer. Sunscreen, also called sunblock, literally blocks those Vitamin D rich solar rays from your skin. The body cannot create D3 when it doesn't even have the precursor of Vitamin D from the Sun. You must expose your body for 20 minutes to one hour in the Sun without any sunblock whatsoever. Oils are a great alternative for protecting the body from Sun rays, as well as supplying the skin with more fat for Vitamin D absorption. If you're spending an extended time in the Sun, then of course you must use sunblock, but make it a daily practice to get outdoor Sun exposure on your arms, legs, and face so that your body can get its daily dose of D.
Lastly, stop using soap! Remember, it takes the skin 48-72 hours to convert D from the Sun into D3 for our bodies. Soap emulsifies the oils (fat) in our skin and washes away all of that beautifully converted D3. For all of you who cannot bear to imagine not showering, you may rest assured. Not using soap doesn't mean not showering. A cold rinse is very stimulating for the lymphatic system and will clean off most debris on the skin - just don't scrub your body with soap. Reserve soap use for the glandular parts of your body: the underarms, groin, and anus. Leaving the rest of your body soap free will allow your skin to retain its oil content. This will allow your body to keep its D3 stores. A higher oil content in the skin may also reduce and prevent wrinkles, as well as brighten your complexion. As long as your diet is clean, you won't have to worry about pimples or blemishes due to the excess oil. An added benefit is a stronger immune system. Washing with soap removes beneficial bacteria from the skin, which helps to protect us from foreign bacteria that may cause illness.
If you do find yourself getting sunburned, use raw aloe vera. Raw aloe vera is one of the only plants, next to the butter from Shea, that acts as a catalyst in rebuilding skin cells. This is why it is such an excellent, and traditional, remedy for sunburn. You should also increase your intake of antioxidants when you're in the Sun and especially if you find yourself getting burned from it. Vitamin C, Astaxanthin, and watermelon are ideal for protecting the body from the inside out.
As always, a diet rich in whole grains, legumes, vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and seaweeds will ensure adequate minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants to protect you through each season.