Many people love the summertime. It is a great season to go to the beach, the pool, amusement parks and enjoy the variety of summertime activities available. However, while spending time outside in sunlight is good for your health, there are also some downsides to exposing yourself too much. Therefore, today we are discussing the good, the bad, and the ugly of sunlight while also showing you how to use sunlight to benefit your health.
What is The Sun Great For?
- Additional Serotonin – Serotonin is produced by the brain and helps to improve one’s mood. Darkness, on the other hand, produces melatonin, which makes us sleepy and lethargic. The Sunshine has been linked with dramatic mood increases across the board. One source from the Mayo Clinic says that a lack of serotonin can lead to mental health problems (Mayo Clinic).
- More Vitamin D – Vitamin D is vital for preserving strong bones and reducing the chances of experiencing conditions like rickets and osteoporosis.
- Preventing Cancer – Surprisingly, the sun can also prevent many forms of cancer, according to the Sun Institute. Too much sun exposure can cause skin cancer, but a moderate amount of exposure can reduce the risk of colon cancer and prostate cancer.
These are just three of the main benefits of moderate sun exposure. Other studies have also linked moderate sun exposure with an improvement in common skin conditions and a boost in hormones. Some individual conditions are also less likely, including inflammatory bowel disease and rheumatoid arthritis.
What Can the Sun Be Bad For?
The sun has a dark side, though. There are a few complications that can occur because of too much exposure to the sun without the proper protections. The main way the sun can harm you is through skin cancer. Melanoma skin cancer, which is the most serious type, can have fatal consequences. It is estimated that 86% of melanoma (Cancer Research UK) as can be traced back to too much sun exposure.
For most people, however, they will experience sunburn when they do not protect themselves. This is a particular problem for children in the UK, with 288 children entering the NHS Burns Service every month (CB Trust) and a significant portion being attributed to sunburn.
High to extreme sun exposure can also cause cataracts, because of damaging UV rays. And, even though it can improve skin conditions, it can also cause premature ageing and wrinkles.
As you can see, too much sunshine can be harmful.
Supplements to Stay Safe from the Sun
There is a selection of supplements that can also protect you from the sun. These should be taken regularly not just for the purposes of sun protection but because they also provide other health benefits.
- Astaxanthin – This is an antioxidant which acts as a type of internal sunscreen (NCBI), according to the latest research. Another one of the major benefits of astaxanthin is that it acts as an anti-aging supplement. This is ideal if you are regularly exposed to the sun. Supplements will give you far more astaxanthin than common sources like shellfish and salmon.
- Vitamin E – Humans do not naturally produce Vitamin E, so it needs to be gained through food and supplements. Vitamin E acts as an anti-inflammatory to prevent signs of ageing, protects against the harmful UV rays of the sun, offers protection against environmental pollution, and moisturises at the same time.
- Vitamin A – Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that plays a strong role in improving vision, brain function, and acting as an anti-oxidant. It is an extremely powerful anti-oxidant, which makes it ideal for preventing and counteracting the damage caused by regular sun exposure.
- Selenium – Selenium is a mineral derived mainly from the foods we eat. Selenium plays a key role in regulating the metabolism and it acts to prevent cell damage. Since the sunshine can damage the cells selenium can help to defend against this. You will get your daily selenium intake simply by drinking water.
- CoQ10 – This is a co-enzyme commonly found within animals. It is important because it is the energy that helps your cells to produce the energy they need to replicate and grow. It is the basis of cell function and its primary benefit is that it can help cells to replicate and to replace the damaged cells caused by UV exposure.
- Vitamin D3 – The last vitamin is D3 and it has been linked with helping sufferers of osteoporosis. Another use for vitamin D3 is maintaining blood pH levels. Research has also shown that it has a protective effect against sunburn, which is perhaps the biggest cause of poor skin health.
Lifestyle Tips for Safe Sun Care
Supplements alone are not enough to protect your skin from the sun. You also need to take suitable steps to protect your skin and to ensure that you do not encounter any of the potentially fatal conditions that can occur as a result of spending too much time in the sun without proper protection.
- Use sunscreen. This is your primary weapon in protecting your skin from UV rays of all kinds.
- Hydrate regularly. Water not only keeps you from dizzy spells and fainting, it stops dry skin by keeping it supple and flexible.
- Cover up. When you are out in the sun you should make sure that you are wearing a shirt and a hat. The less skin exposed to the sun the better.
- Avoid going out during the hottest parts of the day, which are normally around 12pm to 2pm when the sun is highest in the sky.
- Stay away from tanning beds. Stick to tanning naturally because research has shown repeatedly that tanning beds are far more harmful than natural sunlight.
Conclusion – The Sun is Good…in Small Quantities
The sun is neither good nor bad. When you take the right supplements and follow some basic lifestyle tips your skin can get that healthy summer glow. Too much or too little, though, and you have a higher chance of experiencing health problems.
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- Mayo Clinic - http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder/basics/causes/con-20021047
- Sunlight Institute - http://sunlightinstitute.org/new-interesting-research-cancer-sun-exposure/
- Cancer Research UK - http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/causes-of-cancer/sun-uv-and-cancer/sun-facts-and-evidence#sun_facts0
- CB Trust - http://www.cbtrust.org.uk/2016/10/04/288-children-require-admission-nhs-burns-service-every-month/
- NCBI - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20219323