We hear a huge amount in the press about the dangers of sunbathing, and not without good reason. However there is another side to the coin… so is sunbathing good for you?

Darker skin

Bronze off 2015. Yes I try to keep my skin tanned. I however do not go overboard, as ‘bronze off’ may indicate.

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I’ve been to many countries around the world and one thing is certain, I feel like I may be in a minority of people wanting their skin to be tanned.

There is a certain connotation that comes with darker skin, and it can mean something different in different groups of people. Some see it as an indication that a person does manual labor. Others see it as someone who has free time to lounge around and not do much at all.

But one thing is certain that many people may be forgetting – the sun has healing benefits.

Allowing the sun to kiss your skin is good for your health

At the very least, humans need about 20 minutes of uninterrupted sunshine on a large amount of unclothed (and un-sunscreened) skin.

Once the skin has been sunbathed, there should NOT be a shower or bath for at least 30 minutes. This allows the vitamin D to absorb through your skin and into your bloodstream.

That’s right, vitamin D is what we get from sunbathing.

This is an extremely important part of our immune system and ultimately our health. And unfortunately many of us are deficient in it. To find out for certain if you are deficient, you can have an easy blood test done by your doctor.

There are other signs that you may be experiencing if you are deficient

is sunbathing good for you_21) You may feel sad.

The brain chemical serotonin is associated with sun exposure. The more sun you get, the more serotonin you produce, which will elevate your mood. If you are not getting enough sun, you will produce less serotonin, which can make you feel sad.

2) You are overweight or have more muscles.

More body mass means you need more Vitamin D than a slimmer person.

3) Your bones are aching.

Vitamin D deficiency causes a problem with putting calcium into your bone matrix.

4) You are fatigued.

Deficiency is associated with feeling tired. This in addition to bone pain gets wrongly diagnosed as chronic fatigue syndrome. Get your Vitamin D levels checked.

5) You have problems with your gut.

Gut problems like celiac, inflammatory bowel disease, or non-celiac gluten sensitivity, are associated with problems absorbing fat and therefore fat-soluble vitamins like Vitamin D.

Vitamin D deficiency is also associated with several disease, including cardiovascular disease, autoimmune conditions, and increased infections.

So what are you waiting for? If you aren’t getting your 20 minutes of sun a day – start!

Not too much sunbathe

But remember, there is also a thing as too much sun.

The optimal Vitamin D level in your body has been observed as between 50 and 70 ng/ml, which is based on healthy populations.

The recommendation is to stay in the sun until your skin turns the lightest shade of pink or half the amount of time when you would get a light sunburn. (If you know you will burn in 30 minutes, stay in the sun for 15 minutes.)

The sun is the best way to optimize your Vitamin D levels, however if you cannot get enough sun, supplementation is the next best option. In this case, a blood test will help you determine how much Vitamin D, such as this high quality liquid, you would need to take. Remember to consult your healthcare practitioner!

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