Don’t Weight-Issue 12-Summer Sun=Summer Fun!

Summer Sun = Fun Fun Fun!

So many of us look forward to Summer, don’t we?  I do-I love the extra outdoor time!  The summer season is marked by longer days, shorter nights…earlier sunrises and later sunsets.  All that extra sunlight usually brings along warmer temperatures as well.  I live in an area where we have all 4 seasons, so summer here is the heart of the growing season.  Planting season here is coming to a close-then its watering and weeding season!  I love going out each day to see what new thing has popped up or popped out! (unless it’s the poison ivy I discussed in the last newsletter!)

Farmer’s Markets are/will be starting with early produce, and you get to see what is “in season” as the weeks come along.

The warm temps and the longer days give us more time to do things outside, in the sun.  It is SOOOO good for us in so many ways!  We should not fear the sun.  We should be smart about how we enjoy the sun-but seek and enjoy those luscious rays!

As my friend Eileen says, “Don’t hear what I am not saying”.  I am not saying go in the sun for as long as you want and don’t worry about sunburns.”  I am saying, it’s a smart thing to do to learn how to enjoy the sun with common sense and without fear.

The sun should not be feared.  It should not be avoided.  It should be enjoyed and appreciated!  (I am repeating myself a little-but it’s important!)

The ancient Greeks and Romans worshipped Apollo and Helios, who were both gods of the sun AND gods of healing.   Humans recognized the healing power of the sun long before it was scientifically identified and its healing powers proven.

Before the advent of antibiotics, sunshine and fresh air (along with good nutrition) were considered state of the art therapy.  Hospitals and tuberculosis sanitoria were designed with terraces or large open-air spaces where patients would spend a good portion of their time.

UVR (ultraviolet radiation) was discovered to kill anthrax, heal rickets, spotted fever, and even peritoneal tuberculosis (they would leave the (internal)abdomen open to air, outside!  I find it hard to imagine that happening at a modern-day health care facility!  But it worked.

In WW1, tent hospitals were standard practice.  Wounded and sick soldiers were placed outside of the tent to treat pneumonia, sepsis (infection in the blood stream), and even gunshots.

During the Spanish flu outbreak in 1918, Boston hospitals were overrun so they put up tent hospitals.  They found that those treated outside did better (fewer died).  Also, fewer staff caring for them got infected.

Knowing all of this, it’s hard to understand how public health agencies and the modern health care system promote such a fear of the sun.  Ultraviolet Radiation (from the sun) is responsible for 0.1% of the global disease burden. (that is one tenth of one percent, think: how big is one tenth of a penny)

On the flip side, the number of deaths in the US related to INADEQUATE sun exposure are similar to that associated with smoking.  Those with the lowest UV exposure have a 4x higher mortality rate.

Some diseases associated with low UVE (exposure)-not getting enough sun exposure:

  • Myopia (which can lead to blindness)
  • Psoriasis
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
  • Cognitive problems,
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Lou Gherig’s disease

On the other hand, higher levels of UVE are related to lower all-cause mortality (MORE sun =lower risk of death), and lower cardiovascular mortality (death from heart attach, stroke, heart failure).  Even in those with skin cancer (even melanoma), those with a history of greater sun exposure have lower mortality.  They also have lower incidence of hip fracture.

So, you may be thinking all the sun’s goodness and healing power is about Vitamin D.  It is about sooo much more.  But let’s talk D for a little bit.  (a very short summation here)

  • Sunlight is required to make Vitamin D-but it really is not a vitamin. It is a  And this hormone is involved in a lot of important processes in the body. Bone formation is just one.
  • Low D levels are associated with many illnesses and disease states.
  • Supplementation with Vitamin D can raise blood levels of D
  • Supplementation induced higher levels of D have consistently show to be of no benefit to resolving or healing illness states.  
  • When illness resolves or disease is cured, or inflammation is resolved: D levels will return to normal from a lower level. This happens without supplementation.  (it seems that D is involved in the inflammatory response)

To those who say “I don’t live where it is sunny year round…be informed: we store vitamin D.  (I say in almost every issue how miraculously we are made.)  How could mankind have survived and prospered without our bodies having some way to do this?  Different climates in different geographical areas have existed, like, forever.  Now, there are some people who benefit from Vitamin D supplementation.  Those with a true deficiency.  Those who have symptoms that correlate with low D or who have an reasonable cause of low D (a disease process, living at an extreme latitude (place the gets very little sunlight or prolonged darkness)

Possible Symptoms of D Deficiency (

Possible symptoms include:

  • Muscle pain
  • Bone pain
  • Increased sensitivity to pain
  • A tingly, “pins-and-needles” sensation in the hands or feet
  • Muscle weakness in body parts near the trunk of the body, such as the upper arms or thighs
  • Waddling while walking, due to muscle weakness in the hips or legs
  • A history of broken bones
  • Muscle twitches or tremors
  • Muscle spasms
  • Bowed legs (when the deficiency is severe)

I don’t want to spend too long on Vitamin D (you can check the references if you like), because sunlight promotes health in multiple ways, not just the D pathways.

How Sunlight Is Good For Our Health:

  • It activates our natural sun protection system, the melanocytes (cells that produce melanin). These melanocytes are involved in other important metabolic processes too.
  • Helps produce nitric oxide -helps with dilating (opening) blood vessels, improves insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance.
  • Helps produce sulfate, which attaches to important compounds like cholesterol and melatonin and makes them more usable in the body.
  • Helps regulate our circadian clock
  • Is involved in serotonin and melatonin synthesis (think: feel good awake and sleeping!)
  • Produces other metabolic substances
  • Impacts the immune system in positive ways: exposure to sunlight produces antimicrobial products in the body (why it was used to fight infection).  Interestingly though, it also decreases allergic and autoimmune type responses.
  • UVR is antibacterial (UVC light is used in UV sanitizers)

As you can see, humans need the sun.  Getting a nice tan from the sun(not a tanning bed) is good for you.  That tan is a good indicator that you have gotten enough sun.

Disclaimer: this newsletter is for informational purposes only.  It is not intended to be medical advice.

Bonus Note:

Earlier this year I attended a “Natural Vision Improvement” Class with Dr. MilaCasey.  Some of the exercises taught utilize sunlight to strengthen the eyes and improve vision.  I highly encourage anyone who wears glasses or has eyes to check out Mila’s program.  Very affordable and easy to learn.  Her next course starts July 8th!

But Mary…what about skin cancer?  The rate of skin cancer is increasing, the sun is dangerous!!!  Well, the rate of skin cancer has increased, but interestingly, the death rate from skin cancer has not significantly increased.  This happens when screening programs are implemented and there is such fear generated.  The threshold for diagnosing benign lesions as cancerous is lowered…so this appears to be a crisis of overscreening and overdiagnosis.   Melanoma, while it is the deadliest of skin cancers, is the least common.  A finding that calls for our attention is that the rate of melanoma has increased as sunscreen use has increased.

Think about it, sunburn is our signal that “Hey You, it’s time for you to get out of the sun.  As noted earlier, UVE affects more than just our skin.  By using sunscreen, we basically disable our built in warning system.  So, if you stay in the sun, you may not get burned, but you may still be able to get too much sun.

I recently listened to a great podcast on this subject (though I researched this topic extensively a few years ago when I spoke at a health and wellness conference) Pharmanipulation’s “Here Comes the Sun(screen)” is really easy to listen to.

How to safely catch your rays?     Remember, sunlight is one of the ingredients in my Recipe for Optimal Health.

  • Start slowly. Get in the sun, without sunscreen, expose as much skin as you can (whatever your body size). ONLY STAY OUT until your skin starts to get pink. **
  • Gradually increase your time in the sun until you get a tan.
  • If you get to the point of having a tan, you should have enough exposure to store adequate vitamin d for the winter, if you are in an area that has less sunny seasons.)
  • Try to plan yard work or outside activities strategically to take advantage of natural shade.
  • Of course there will be times when you can’t avoid prolonged exposure. In these instances, use protective clothing, eye wear, hats and sunscreen to prevent burn/blistering.
  • **For dark skinned readers: I could not find a metric to judge how long to stay in the sun. But I did learn that melanoma is rare in dark-skinned people.  They can get skin cancer, but it is more related to inflammatory conditions/processes in the body.  I also read that Vit D supplementation did not appear to benefit this population, especially in terms of bone health, and that it can be detrimental.

It’s important to consider too: skin cancer doesn’t happen ONLY because of sun exposure.  Our bodies are designed to heal and repair.  Thinking back to the “recipe for optimal health”, when we are not getting those ingredients, our bodies cannot work optimally.  To prevent skin cancer, yes you want to avoid sunburns.  But slathering on sunscreen doesn’t make you healthy.  You also want to eat optimally, exercise, be with your peeps, do things you believe are important in the world (follow that recipe!).

Things that make you go hmmm-plants are really quite resistant to getting burnt up by sunlight (usually unless they aren’t hydrated well enough).  Eat more green stuff-it just might help protect your skin!  It will definitely help keep you healthier!

Mindset Matters Most-Be Empowered

Are you afraid of skin cancer? Afraid of the sun?

Fear is not a fun perspective to operate from. Consider how it might feel to operate from a perspective of awe (of the sun and its importance in your body and in your world), but even more so, awe at your body, it’s capacity to self-regulate, repair, heal and thrive. It is how we were created to be.

We get a lot of messages that victimize us, that take control for our outcomes out of our own hands. For the next week or so, I invite you to watch for that kind of messaging. Counter fear generating “stuff” with taking control of your thoughts first.   Your emotions, and your actions will align. Take advantage of some of the resources I have shared here-be informed, make up your own mind.  Counter fear with informed decisions.

Coaches Corner-Habit Stack

Do things you are already doing-take them outside. You can avoid or minimize your time when the sun’s rays are strongest (10am-2pm where I live). If you already are doing outdoor activities and get plenty of sun-go you!

  • Meditate
  • Phone calls
  • Reading, office work (I take my laptop outside!)
  • Exercise like yoga, exercise using hand weights
  • Can you set up your treadmill outside? Maybe a mini trampoline? (probably easier to go to the park! Lol)
  • I’d love to hear how you catch your rays! Just reply to this newsletter and share!

Don’t forget to sign up for MPG if you are interested in joining us!

Some of the additional references I used for this newsletter

Hoel DG, de Gruijl FR. Sun Exposure Public Health Directives. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2018 Dec 10;15(12):2794. doi: 10.3390/ijerph15122794. PMID: 30544646; PMCID: PMC6313493

RB Weller. Sunlight Has Cardiovascular Benefits Independently of Vitamin D. Blood Purification 2016; 41: 130-134

van der Rhee HJ, de Vries E, Coebergh JW. Regular sun exposure benefits health. Med Hypotheses. 2016 Dec;97:34-37. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2016.10.011. Epub 2016 Oct 19. PMID: 27876126.

Brøndum-Jacobsen P, Nordestgaard BG,,Nielsen SF, Benn M: Skin cancer as a marker o f sun exposure associates with myocardial infarction, hip fracture and death from any cause. Int J Epidemiol 2013; 42: 1486–1496

Cochrane review- Bjelakovic G, Gluud LL, Nikolova D, Whitfield K, Krstic G, Wetterslev J, Gluud C. Vitamin D supplementation for prevention of cancer in adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2014 Jun 23;(6):CD007469. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD007469.pub2. PMID: 24953955.

Theodoratou E, Tzoulaki I, Zgaga L, Ioannidis JP. Vitamin D and multiple health outcomes: umbrella review of systematic reviews and meta-analyses of observational studies and randomised trials. BMJ. 2014 Apr 1;348:g2035. doi: 10.1136/bmj.g2035. PMID: 24690624; PMCID: PMC3972415.

Immune system modulation:

Cals-Grierson MM, Ormerod AD. Nitric oxide function in the skin. Nitric Oxide. 2004 Jun;10(4):179-93. doi: 10.1016/j.niox.2004.04.005. PMID: 15275864.

Brown LL, Cohen B, Tabor D, Zappalà G, Maruvada P, Coates PM. The vitamin D paradox in Black Americans: a systems-based approach to investigating clinical practice, research, and public health – expert panel meeting report. BMC Proc. 2018 May 9;12(Suppl 6):6. doi: 10.1186/s12919-018-0102-4. PMID: 30044889; PMCID: PMC5954269.