I have decided to take this opportunity to talk about vitamin D deficiency, and the latest research regarding taking supplements. So many of us are being told that we are low in vitamin D these days and encouraged by our health practitioners to take it in some kind of pill form.
As many of you know, Vitamin D is important to us in several ways. It helps in keeping our immune systems healthy, it is essential to bone strength, it helps improve the function of our lungs, and it's an important part in regulating our mood. It also lowers the risk for certain cancers, like serious skin cancers, colon, breast and prostate cancers. And the same is true for very common chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and MS.
So how do we get this vitamin? By exposing our skin to the sun. Some foods have small amounts but it's not enough to get the amounts we are in need of, so sunlight is how we do it. Amazing isn't it?
The new research was a large study of people with low vitamin D levels. Half of them took supplements for several years and the other half didn't. What they were comparing was how long they lived and how high the risk was for those cancers and chronic diseases that are linked to low vitamin D levels. And this is what they found. There was no significant difference between the two groups. In other words, taking the supplements did not lower the risks for these cancers and diseases, and did not make them live longer, healthier lives in general.
To me this is important to take in. This is what it means. There is no substitute, that we know of at this time, that can substitute being outside in the sun. Period. We can't get around the fact that as the animals we are, we are deeply intertwined with mother earth and the sun that brings life to us. And a pill simply will not do the same thing as that gigantic star at the center of the solar system. (When I write it like that it kind of seems funny to even think it would, doesn't it?)
Please do not take this to mean that taking a supplement doesn't do anything to help us be healthier, that is not what the research is showing. It's showing that it does not help us lower the risks of these cancers and chronic diseases that take many lives. And that we don't live longer healthier lives taking them. To have those effects we need to be outdoors in the sun. Without sunblock. On a regular basis. And that is the important part to me. You might still decide to take your supplements for other health benefits, but, you still need sunlight.
I wasn't that surprised reading this myself, my gut always told me that we need the sun. So, considering that we are in the midst of winter right now, this is my way of encouraging you all to get out there. Even if it's just for a short while. Take your hat off and let the light shine on your head and face, and you will produce the Vitamin D you need. Not to mention all the great health effects it has on you if you can do that in nature. It's simple to me, we were never meant to spend the days indoors, it's not normal human behaviour. So we have to do all that we possibly can to make up for all the hours most of us spend indoors for work. See you outdoors!