**Disclaimer** While the word of wisdom gives us basic guidelines for health, it leaves the interpretation of those guideline up to the individual members. This blog is not intended to replace your medical professional or the divine revelation of the Word of Wisdom, but rather it is practical knowledge that I have accumulated over the years in my own pursuit of a healthier lifestyle which I am passing along in the hopes that it will benefit others.**
I remember when I was young; my Mother would tell us to turn off the TV and go outside and play.
We used to think it was just Mom’s way of getting us out from under her feet for a while, and maybe it was. But whether she knew it or not she was doing something very important that was keeping us healthy.
Vitamin D deficiency is becoming the new epidemic around the world and is being linked to diseases like Osteoporosis, Diabetes, MS, Crohns, and even Cancer to name just a few.
So how was sending us outside to play keeping us healthy? Well there was always the physical exercise part of the equation. All of the running around and chasing back and forth kept us in good shape. Breathing in fresh air was a good thing too, but most important of all was being exposed to the sunshine.
A few months ago I talked about (SAD) a seasonal affective disorder, and how regular exposure to sunshine could help to lesson, or prevent, the onset of the symptoms of this disorder. But feelings of depression and lethargy aren’t the only problems brought on by a lack of sunshine in our lives. When we don’t get enough sunshine our bodies can’t make enough Vitamin D, and this can cause some real problems.
Recent reviews by health experts have increased the recommended dose of Vitamin D per day so unless you get out in the sun on a regular basis, without sunscreen, and or eat foods that are rich in this vitamin you probably aren’t getting enough.
More and more research is being done and they are finding that not only is a lack of Vitamin D behind some of the diseases that are plaguing the world today, but supplementation of this vitamin has also been shown to be effective in treating some types of colds and coughs.
One of the functions of Vitamin D is the regulation of the immune system. It does this by producing antimicrobial peptides that kill infectious organisms. Vitamin D also keeps the immune system from overreacting when it is attacked by a virus or other infection.
This would back up some anecdotal evidence that I have observed over the years. It seems that when you are not feeling well a good dose of sunshine often helps to alleviate the symptoms, helping you to feel better sooner.
Looking at the components that make up our modern lives it is not hard to see why there are so many people who are deficient in Vitamin D.
Children spend hours and hours shut up in school buildings. They don’t walk home for lunch anymore but stay inside and eat in a cafeteria. Physical education classes are frequently conducted in the gym instead of on the playground, and children are spending more and more time in front of computers for both school and leisure. Many adults also spend their days in office buildings or some other equivalent where their sun exposure is often limited as well.
When they come home from school most kids head straight for their rooms, or other indoor hideaway and either turn on the TV, computer, or a hand held video game system. Literally hours of time will be spent on these devices. Add this to dinner time and any homework that needs to be done, and before anyone knows it the day is over and they might have spent all of 20 minutes outdoors going to and from the car or school bus to reach their various destinations.
Even people who spend their time outside often take the precaution of applying sunscreen to protect their skin from the UVA/UVB rays. Unfortunately this also keeps the skin from absorbing adequate amounts of Vitamin D as well.
Supplements can be taken if a deficiency is suspected, and Vitamin D3 is the best form to use, but Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin which will be stored in fat cells if too much is produced, so unless you have a severe deficiency take the minimum dose and try to get the rest of what you need from natural sources.
If you’re not sure, but think that you or your child has a deficiency ask your doctor to run a blood test. The best way to measure how much vitamin D is in your body is to run a 25-hydroxy vitamin D blood test. A level less than 12 ng/mL indicates vitamin D deficiency.
But whether you have a deficiency or not get outside more, it’s good for you. If you are fair skinned and fear overexposure, then go outside at times when the sun is not at its peak. My genetic mix has predisposed myself and my children to being easily burned by the sun. But rather than allowing that to keep us inside, we simply schedule our time outdoors in the early morning, or later in the afternoon when the sun is lower in the sky. If we must be out at times when the sun is high in the sky then we wear sunscreen.
Children need to spend more time outdoors for a variety of reasons, and in many cases they need to spend more time with their families as well. Plan to do things outside together as a family. Turn off the electronic devices and take a walk around the neighborhood. If you have any scenic trails or perhaps a river walk in your area, go out together and enjoy the view while soaking up some sunshine.
It may not always be convenient to go for a family stroll, but there are other ways to get your kids outside. Depending on the time of year there may be gardens that need to weeded, or leaves that need to be raked. If they run out of things to do in your yard send them over to the yard of an elderly neighbor and let them do something that will not only benefit themselves but someone else too.
After sitting for hours at a desk nothing will clear your head better than getting up and moving around. Fresh air, exercise, and sunshine are the perfect recipe for increased health and vigor. So, enjoy it to its fullest while it works to brighten your mood and to strengthen your body.
The Blaylock Wellness Report ~ April 2015
About Denise Mastrocola
Denise is a Michigander turned Pennsylvanian, who has been writing stories since Elementary School. Denise won an award at the annual Lansing Youth Talent Show, when she was in 10th grade, for a short story entitled Procrastination is Fatal, but didn’t decide on writing as a career until she was 28 years old. While homeschooling her older children she spent 4 years working through a course from The Institute of Children’s Literature. Through the years Denise’s children have had a variety of health issues, many of which have been linked to various sensitives; having spent more than 20 years researching and trying different things Denise has a boots on the ground view on healthier living. Denise currently writes for 2 blogs and has several books in different stages of completion. She is planning to break ground in e publishing, and hopes to have her first Historical Fantasy book which is set during the renaissance, “Lisa, My Lisa?” ready by the first of the year.