Why You Need the ‘Sunshine Vitamin’

Stronger bones, a better immune system, protection from some cancers, lower blood pressure, clearer skin, and a healthier brain. These are just a few of the apparent benefits of the strangest of vitamins—vitamin D. Unlike all other vitamins, vitamin D is made by our bodies, but it requires sunshine.

The problem is, we’re just not getting as much sun as we used to or enough to make the vitamin D our bodies need. We spend too much time indoors, and when we do go outdoors, we’re using sunblock, which blocks the ultraviolet rays that create vitamin D.

Our skin is an amazing organ that automatically regulates the amount of vitamin D it produces, and it naturally won’t produce too much. If you spent a day at the beach, your skin would produce about 10,000 IU (international units) of vitamin D3. That’s about the maximum daily production by your skin.

Stay safe in the sun

Foods don’t contain nearly that much—the richest sources are fish, fortified dairy and soy milk products, and eggs. But salmon has only 100 units an ounce; milk, 100 units a glass. So you can’t get enough vitamin D from food alone.

Is it time to go back to sun worshiping while smearing on the baby oil? Wait. Before hitting the beach, remember that the sun also causes skin damage and that too many rays can lead to skin cancer.

The lighter your skin, the more sensitive you are to sunlight, but the less sunlight is needed to produce vitamin D. The darker your skin, the more sunlight is needed. So how do we know how much is enough? It depends on your skin type, where you live, how much time you spend outdoors, your dietary sources of vitamin D, and what you might get in supplements.
A recent study of more than 6000 children across the U.S. showed that 70% had low levels of vitamin D— 61% were insufficient and 9% were deficient. A low level of vitamin D puts kids at risk for bone problems and could be a precursor of osteoporosis later in life. Kids with low vitamin D levels also had higher blood pressure, on average, as well as lower HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels. Researchers theorized that widespread vitamin D insufficiency was due to poorer diets and less time spent outdoors.

There’s understandably a lot of confusion about the best way to get vitamin D. The American Academy of Dermatology recently recommended that people should get it from food and supplements and none from unprotected UV rays because of the risks of skin cancer and sun damage. Critics argue that short periods of sun exposure can be safe and that supplements of vitamin D haven’t yet been proved sufficient in preventing disease.

And just as sun exposure doesn’t work equally well for all (e.g., those with dark skin), supplements don’t work the same for everyone. Some people—such as those with bowel disorders like celiac disease or Crohn’s disease—have trouble absorbing vitamin D supplements.

7 habits for a longer life

Based on the existing research and an equal measure of common sense, here’s an approach to make sure you’re protected and getting enough vitamin D:

• Get your vitamin D from a combination of food, sunshine, and supplements.

• Spend less time indoors and more time outdoors.

• When you’re out in direct sunshine, use sunblock, especially on areas that have already had ample sun exposure, like your face, ears, neck, chest, arms, and hands. Always try to avoid getting a sunburn, children especially. It’s okay to get 10 to 15 minutes of sun daily before you apply sunblock.

• Enjoy healthy foods that contribute to your vitamin D intake, like salmon, sardines, and other fish; and fortified dairy and soy milk products.

• Take a daily supplement of vitamin D3—around 1000 IU per day—depending on your needs.

• Get your blood level of vitamin D checked at your next physical. It should be between 30ng/ml and 100ng/ml.

Posted in Cush n Shade Blog

Protect your crowning glory

• Faded hair color
• Broken or split ends
• Frizzy hair
• Weakened or brittle hair

If your plans include lots of fun in the sun, consider protecting your hair from the damage of UV rays with these tips.

Hat’s Off!

Actually, keep the hat on! The best way to protect your hair from the sun’s rays is to block the exposure to the sun. Whether you decide to put on a baseball cap or don a wide brimmed hat, most hats provide high protection from the sun’s rays. Of course, if portions of your hair hang out of the hat, you’ll want to protect that in other ways! You will give your face and hair 50 + Ultra Violet protection when you use the Cush’n Shade®

Posted in Cush n Shade Blog

Sun Advice from dermatologists in Ireland

CONSUMER HEALTH: Rising rates of cancer means protecting your skin from the sun is critically important – but which is the best product for you?

WITH THE summer holidays and the lure of foreign destinations fast approaching – consumers’ attention is turning once more to which suncream to purchase.

Given that the rate of skin cancer has almost doubled in Ireland over the past 10 years, protecting your skin, and particularly your children’s, is critically important. But before you make that purchase, what should you know?

How long can you keep suncreams for?

Every year, most households discuss whether or not to use last year’s suncream, or to throw it out and buy a new one. Given that it is not the cheapest of products, many opt for holding onto last year’s bottle, but is this really the wisest option?
For Dr Abdullah Moktar, consultant dermatologist with the Beacon Dermatology Clinic, if the product has been open for more than one year, “then there could be a bit of oxidation, it won’t be standard and you can’t rely on it”.

Dr Rosemary Coleman, consultant dermatologist with the Blackrock Clinic in Dublin advises people to go by the sell-by dates on the bottle. In general, these tend to have a duration of about 12 months.

How much should you use each time?

When it comes to keeping suncreams, both dermatologists agree that really, there shouldn’t be any suncream left if you’re using it appropriately.

“If you’re using proper quantities, you shouldn’t have much left,” says Coleman, while Moktar agrees that “people use insufficient amounts”.

“You should apply liberally to all sun-exposed areas,” he advises. In general, you need at least 30ml to cover an adult’s total body, with a teaspoon for your face given as a rough guide.

“Overuse rather than underuse it,” cautions Coleman, adding: “Be generous with sunscreen. Don’t put on a tiny amount – SPF effectiveness is based on adequate application.”

Do you need both UVA/UVB protection?

The aim of suncream is to protect your skin from ultraviolet light, of which there are two – UVA and UVB. According to Moktar, UVA causes skin ageing and skin cancer, while UVB causes acute sunburn and skin cancer. “You need to have protection from both,” he says.

SPF stands for “sun protection factor” and refers to UVB radiation. In line with new EU regulations, as well as the SPF number indicated on labels, the number is now also graded from low to very high protection. So, suncreams with SPFs of between 6-14 are labelled as offering “low protection”, while those between 30-50 give “high protection”.

There have also been changes to how UVA cover is indicated. In addition to the star rating – one star offers “minimum” UVA protection, while five stars provides “ultra” cover – you will also see the letters UVA in a circular shape on certain labels, indicating that it contains the EU-recommended amount of UVA protection compared to SPF.

Remember, you want to choose a sunscreen which offers protection from both UVA and UVB rays

Posted in Cush n Shade Blog

Breast cancer breakthrough: vitamin D in combination with sun exposure is key to prevention

As NaturalNews (www.naturalnews.com) has covered for years, researchers have found a profound link between breast cancer and low levels of vitamin D. Women with the lowest blood levels have the highest breast cancer risk and those dying of metastasized disease are the most vitamin D deficient of all. Scientists have theorized vitamin D has anti-cancer properties that influence cell growth, healthy cell differentiation and programmed cell death (apoptosis).

However, when researchers have looked only at levels of dietary vitamin D intake and breast cancer risk, their findings have been sometimes inconsistent. So what is going on here? Does vitamin D definitely have the potential to prevent breast malignancies or not? A large and potentially groundbreaking French study appears to have the answer: the key to breast cancer prevention may well be taking higher amounts of vitamin D through diet and supplements combined with regular, direct sunshine exposure.

The new research, headed by Dr. Pierre Engel from INSERM (Institute National de la Sante et de la Recherche Medicale, which is France’s equivalent to the National Institutes of Health in the U.S.), investigated data combined from a large, decade long study involving 67,721 post-menopausal French women. The analysis came up with clear, startling evidence that while vitamin D plays a role in reducing the risk of breast cancer, the addition of adequate sunshine exposure is the factor that substantially drops the risk even more.

The scientists found that women living in the sunniest places in the south of France, such as Provence, had only about half the risk of developing breast cancer then women residing in less sunny latitudes, such as Paris. Even women who had the lowest vitamin D intake but who got lots of sunshine had a 32 percent lower risk of breast cancer than their counterparts living in less sunny latitudes of France. What’s more, the women who consumed the most dietary vitamin D from foods and supplements and who had regular, generous sun exposure had the most significant protection from developing breast cancer.

In their research paper, which was just published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention, the French team concluded that a minimum threshold of vitamin D obtained from both sunshine and diet “..is required to prevent breast cancer and this threshold is particularly difficult to reach in postmenopausal women at northern latitudes where quality of sunlight is too poor for adequate vitamin D production.”

They also noted that the minimal intake of vitamin D to reduce the risk of breast cancer is likely to vary with an individual woman’s ability to metabolize or synthesize the vitamin from both diet and sunshine exposure. Adding that the average American and French woman has relative low levels of vitamin D and tends to get little exposure to sunshine, the scientists recommended “…an increase in overall vitamin D intake should be encouraged by food and health agencies.”

Posted in Cush n Shade Blog
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